CHARLOTTE (Reuters) – LeBron James applauded former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for resolving a standoff with the league over collusion claims in a settlement announced on Friday.
“It’s important to stick up for what you believe in. I stand with Kaep. I kneel with Kaep,” James said. “I feel what he was talking about, nobody wanted to listen to. Nobody ever wanted to really actually understand where he was coming from. Anybody that would sacrifice their livelihood for the better of all of us, I could respect that. He’s done that. You got a guy that basically lost his job because he wanted to stand for something that was more than just him.
“I’m happy to see the news come out yesterday that he won his suit. I hope it’s a hell of a lot of money that could set not only him up, set his family up, set his grandkids up for the rest of their lives. And I hope the word of what he did will live on throughout American history, but also world history, because it’s important for all of us, not only African Americans but for everybody that wants to stand up for something that’s more important than them.”
James was swarmed by hundreds of media Saturday morning at All-Star Media Day at Bojangles Coliseum, south of downtown Charlotte, where he touched on topics ranging from social justice to his favourite pregame tunes.
Appearing Sunday in his 15th consecutive All-Star Game, James said he has realised in recent years his role includes being an outspoken advocate and voice for those who feel silenced.
James had his own media clash with Fox News host Laura Ingraham, who infamously told James to “shut up and dribble” rather than share his political opinions and viewpoints. James described the overwhelming urge to stand up as a feeling that overtook his body.
“I knew at that moment, I knew that it was bigger than basketball and I had to say something,” James said. “It wasn’t just about me. It was about all of us. It’d be like telling [the media] to ‘shut up and just write.’ You guys not having a platform. Or just shut up and be a doctor, just shut up and be a lawyer, or just shut up and be a teacher, or just shut up and do whatever your occupation is. I just think that’s unfair to all of us because we are so much more than what our occupation says or what our name tag says.”