This IS – the Second American Revolution. Hopefully we can get rid of the hater in the white’s only house peacefully.
Weighing in on the simmering debate over football players kneeling during the national anthem, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slammed President Trump and those who have criticized high-paid players for their apparent lack of gratitude.
“That’s pretty much what the British said about the leaders of the American Revolution — the wealthy were making money by colluding with the British, so they should just be grateful. Fortunately, those leaders couldn’t be bought off,” Abdul-Jabbar said.
“The implication here is that black athletes should be grateful that they’ve been invited to dine with the white elites and if they want to keep their place at the table, they should keep dancing and smiling and keep their mouths shut. The myth of the Happy Negro needs to be dispelled once and for all.”
In two interviews with International Business Times, the NBA legend said that he is encouraged that athletes are unifying in protest against racism that is “getting worse under the current administration” and against “the attempt to curtail the First Amendment by a rich, entitled white man who thinks only he should be allowed to speak freely.”
Responding to IBT questions on Sept. 26, after a weekend in which the NFL protests had accelerated, Abdul-Jabbar praised the now-unemployed quarterback who started the “Take the Knee” movement a year ago.
“It’s to Colin Kaepernick’s credit that he was willing to protest institutional racism when he was almost alone and without much power,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “His goal was to make America aware that there is an underlying racism present and that we need to address it. President Trump’s statements at Charlottesville and about the NFL proved to many Americans that Colin was right. It’s a testament to the bravery and commitment of all those other players, coaches, and owners across all sports who have joined in the protest.”
The former Lakers center — who remains the league’s all-time leading scorer — is no stranger to protest. He attended the famous “Ali Summit,” in which he and other high-profile athletes stood in solidarity with Muhammed Ali as the boxer refused to be drafted into the Vietnam War. He also boycotted the 1968 Olympics. In recent years, he has written books and columns about political issues — and has publicly tangled with Trump. During the presidential campaign, Trump sent Abdul-Jabbar a handwritten noteslamming a column he wrote in the Washington Post.
Abdul-Jabbar denounced Trump for saying protesting athletes should be fired.
“I can think of instances when a president’s opinion could be worthwhile, especially when trying to uphold principles of the Constitution or the well-being of the players,” Abdul-Jabbar told IBT. “However, Trump’s comments are direct attacks on the constitutional principles of free speech. For someone who has sworn to uphold the Constitution, this is either an example of immense ignorance or willful treason.”
But asked whether sports team owners should be allowed to fire players for speaking out on political issues, Abdul-Jabbar acknowledged owners’ potential concerns.
“Sports teams are a business and business owners have the right to punish players who the owners think might be harming their business,” Abdul-Jabbar told IBT. “There is a risk when a player chooses to protest. Hopefully, the owners will take into consideration what is being protested and the passive, non-violent method of protest.
“Two things are being protested right now. The original issue of systemic racism is still around and getting worse under the current administration. But the second issue that has brought so many athletes together is the attempt to curtail the First Amendment by a rich, entitled white man who thinks only he should be allowed to speak freely.”
Abdul-Jabbar also addressed the issue of white privilege, responding to a quote from Spurs coach Gregg Popovich, who recently said: “Race is the elephant in the room, and we all understand that unless it is talked about constantly, it is not going to get better. … People have to be made to feel uncomfortable; especially white people. We still have no clue of what being born white means.”
“Coach Popovich is absolutely right and he stated it eloquently,” Abdul-Jabbar told IBT. “Many white Americans are aware that white privilege is embedded in American society and are eager to fix this disparity. Others have been affected negatively by the economy so it’s hard to see how they have any privilege when they are struggling so much. Naturally, it angers them to be told they have an advantage yet still are fighting for survival. It’s like blaming them for not being more successful.