Brooklyn Nets point guard, Kyrie Irving and former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick both received ridicule from their respective leagues for different reasons.
Kaepernick, who took a political stance on the American Flag when he refused to stand but instead kneeled during the playing of the U.S. National Anthem. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL network’s Steve Wyche.
Irving organized a conference call with pro-basketball players from both the WNBA and the NBA who wanted to discuss whether they should play in the NBA and WNBA’s bubble in Orlando, Florida.
“I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullsh**,” Irving said while on the call.
“Something smells a little fishy. Whether we want to admit it or not, we are targeted as black men every day we wake up.”
Irving, who was on the mend from shoulder surgery didn’t join the Nets in Orlando and they were swept by the Toronto Raptors in round one of the NBA Playoffs.
Million Dollar Question: Is it a fair assessment to call Kyrie Irving the NBA’s Colin Kaepernick?
“It is not,” Jemele Hill told me while promoting her Jemele Hill is Unbothered Podcast which is exclusively found on Spotify.
“And the reason why is – and this is no disrespect to Kyrie because I think he has been so intentional, so vocal and so genuine about being a change agent. And especially for what he’s extended to women in particular to create a fund for WNBA players who decided to sit out the season because of COVID-19 concerns or wanted to focus on social justice to provide that kind of support. It says a lot about who Kyrie Irving is and what he cares about but, let us not lose sight of the fact that Colin Kaepernick made a very specific sacrifice and he had something taken away from him simply because he had the audacity to demand that Black people be treated as human and his whole career was stolen from him. Kyrie Irving will still get to play basketball. He’ll still get to… maybe lead the Brooklyn Nets to a championship with Kevin Durant. Colin Kaepernick won’t get that opportunity; and so, there’s an inherent difference there that I think in terms of like-mindedness is very similar; Kyrie is about liberation and equality and support and so I think Colin is about those very same you know, values. I think that the difference is that Kyrie will be able to use his sports platform to continue to promote the things that are important and that part was taken away from Colin.”