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Kobe Bryant Would Take A Knee With Colin Kaepernick If He Were Still Playing

The season may be over, but the controversy over NFL players 'taking a knee' during the national anthem has not died down yet. If you thought the issue had fizzled out by the Super Bowl just because there didn't appear to be any protesters, you were wrong. The issue is far from being resolved.

Kobe Bryant, retired professional basketball player, told Jemele Hill on Sunday that he would be taking a knee, if he were still playing. Bryant was a guest on the 'Dear Black Athlete' special on "The Undefeated".

The NBA requires players to stand respectfully for the anthem, but Bryant said he'd probably kneel anyway.

"Yeah, I would have participated in it, for sure," Bryant said. "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."

Bryant has been a staunch defender of Colin Kaepernick, who started the protests when he was on the San Francisco 49ers. Kaepernick found it difficult to stand for the anthem in light of the growing outcry over the death of several black men at the hands of police.

Bryant also has been a regular critic of President Donald Trump, who took a swipe at protesting players at the start of the 2017 season. Trump said that NFL teams should 'fire the bastards' who did not stand for the 'Star-Spangled Banner'.

"A #POTUS whose name alone creates division and anger. Whose words inspire dissension and hatred can't possibly 'Make America Great Again,'" Bryant tweeted in response to Trump.

According to Bryant, NBA players probably wouldn't take issue with anyone who feels the need to protest. "I think we understand this is a free country. I think we have the right to peaceful protest," he explained.

"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," Bryant added.

Some argue that the issue is not whether or not team members should be allowed to protest, but rather, whether or not they should be allowed to stage political protests while on the job.

The NBA had actually attempted to circumvent controversy by sending out a memo before the season began. In the midst of the NFL outrage, the memo reminded players and coaches that standing during the anthem was a requirement, and there were no exceptions.

"The league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach or trainer does not stand for the anthem," the memo reads.

Anthem supporters seemed delighted that at the Super Bowl there were no protests going on, but it wasn’t because protesters had necessarily given up. Those who still  advocate taking a knee simply didn’t make it to the game this season. It wouldn’t be surprising if the firestorm sparked up again next season.

Source: AOL
Photo: YouTube

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