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Charles Barkley Stands Up for Standing as Kneeling Sweeps the NBA

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The NBA made its return Thursday evening nearly five months after the season was  suspended because of the coronavirus pandemic, and players signaled they were in unison with regard to embracing political activism on the court.

In two games played from professional basketball’s bubble near Orlando, Florida, the season tipped off again, but the league that’s back isn’t the same one that went into hiatus amid the health crisis that hit hard in March.

The NBA made a spectacle out of the playing of the national anthem, dividing fans when not a single player or coach on four teams, or the officials working the games, stood for the country’s flag and anthem.

But at least one sports analyst was brave enough to comment on the players’ protest of the American flag without kowtowing to the liberal agenda, which allows little dissent on the matter.

TNT NBA analyst and former all-star Charles Barkley reminded his network colleagues that there needs to be a place for people in professional basketball who refuse to kneel for the flag.

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“The national anthem means different things to different people,” Barkley said on the air. “I’m glad these [NBA players] are all unified, but if people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear.

“I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel because the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified,” Barkley concluded.

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The NBA matched up the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz in the first game Thursday. Not one player from either team stood for the American flag before tipoff.

After the first game, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers faced off.

Again, not a single player stood for the anthem.

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The players on all four teams adorned Black Lives Matter shirts, which matched the slogan painted on the court.

Some players wore activist slogans on their jerseys in place of names.

Lakers star LeBron James commented on the in-game political activism after his team’s game.

James said he hoped the activism made former NFL quarterback and national anthem kneeler Colin Kaepernick “proud.”

“What people didn’t understand … [kneeling] had absolutely nothing to do about the flag … [Kaepernick] explained that and people never listened. … I did! … We just thank him for sacrificing everything that he did,” James told the media after the game.

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Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor and a producer in radio, television and digital media. He is a proud husband and father.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.