On Sunday, Kobe Bryant appeared on The Undefeated’s “Dear Black Athlete” to tell Jemele Hill that he supports the #TakeAKnee protests.
Bryant said that if he were still playing, he would take a knee during the national anthem despite the NBA’s rules against it.
“Yeah, I would have participated in it, for sure,” he said to Hill. “I’m sure I would have gotten some flak for it. That’s fine. I think that Colin’s message was a very simple one. It was police brutality needs to stop; we need to take a look at that.”
He also claimed that other players in the NBA wouldn’t have an issue with it, based on his own experience.
“From my experience in the locker room, it doesn’t seem like any of the players that I played with certainly would have had an issue with that,” he said.
“We have the right to peaceful protest”
He went on to say that protesting was part of the First Amendment, which was protected by the troops and symbolized by the flag.
“I think we understand this is a free country. I think we have the right to peaceful protest,” he said. “And by the way, from my point of view, that’s what the flag represents as well. The ability to speak. The ability to voice your opinion. And everybody is entitled to that. So everybody getting up in arms about it, they’re certainly in their right to do that, as we’re certainly in our right to protest – peacefully at that.”
This despite the fact that the #TakeAKnee protests have become a divisive topic, with many claiming that players are disrespecting the troops and the flag when they refuse to stand for the national anthem. The protests, which began when Colin Kaepernick knelt during the anthem in the fall of 2016, have even drawn the wrath of President Donald Trump, who claimed that athletes who kneel during the anthem should be fired.