Kobe Bryant says if he were still playing, he’d kneel for the anthem

DCNFRobert Donachie, DCNF

(Photo by Dan MacMedan/Getty Images)

Future NBA Hall of Fame Player Kobe Bryant said Sunday that if he were still playing professional basketball, he would kneel during the national anthem.

“I would have participated in it for sure,” Bryant said in response to whether he would have protested the anthem. “I’m sure I would have gotten some flak for it, but that’s fine.”

“I think we understand this is a free country. I think we have the right to peaceful protest,” Bryant said.

The former superstar went on to say that he believes the flag represents freedom of speech and that “everybody’s entitled to that.”

Protesting began in the 2016 NFL season with former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The former quarterback claimed his right to protest because of the oppression of black people and acts of police brutality.

Kaepernick sparked a mass wave of protests, known as the #TakeTheKnee movement, that have trickled down to Pop Warner football teams across the nation.

President Donald Trump began railing against the #TakeTheKnee movement at a speech in Huntsville, Ala., while he was campaigning for former Alabama Sen. Luther Strange.

“The only thing you could do better is if you see it, even if it’s one player, leave the stadium. I guarantee things will stop. Things will stop. Just pick up and leave. Pick up and leave. Not the same game anymore, anyway,” Trump said. “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He’s fired. He’s fired!’”

Trump kept up the rhetoric throughout much of the NFL season, even showing up on the field for the presentation of the national anthem at the NCAA national championship game.

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