INDEPENDENCE, Ohio — LeBron James says he plans to stand during the national anthem, but he supports San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel in protest.
James has always been outspoken on social issues. He said Monday he intends to stand while “The Star-Spangled Banner” is played before games.
“First of all, I’m all in favor of anyone — athlete or non-athlete — being able to express what they believe in in a peaceful manner,” James said. “That’s exactly what Colin Kaepernick is doing and I respect that. I think you guys know that when I’m passionate about something, I speak upon it. Me standing for the national anthem is something I will do. That’s who I am. That’s what I believe in. But that doesn’t mean I don’t respect and don’t agree with what Colin Kaepernick is doing.
“You have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion, and he’s doing it in the most peaceful I’ve ever seen someone do. What I do not like about the situation is the negative attention that’s been thrown upon him from certain people because it’s not deserved. He was very educated, very smart, very candid, and very demanding about what he wanted to do. And he didn’t ask anybody else to join him. He did it in the most peaceful manner I’ve ever seen someone stand up and do something. So I can respect that.”
James stressed that he admires Kaepernick’s “peaceful” handling of the situation.
James spoke Monday as the defending-champion Cleveland Cavaliers got ready to open training.
He says he is troubled by repeated videos of police shootings. James is a father of three and spoke of his fears of his son calling to say he got pulled over by police, and “I’m not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home.”
James said he wants the conversation to continue.
“I’m not up here saying that all the police are bad, because they’re not,” he said. “I’m not up here saying all kids are great and all adults are great, because they’re not. But at the same time, all lives do matter. It’s not just about black or white, it’s everyone.”