Abdul-Jabbar urges athletes to continue political protests

  • In US
  • 2017-12-08 14:02:36Z
  • By Reuters

By Rory Carroll

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - NBA Hall of Fame center Kareem Abdul-Jabbar says NFL players and other professional athletes should continue their protests against police brutality in the United States and has rejected the notion that speaking out is in any way unpatriotic.

The six-time NBA champion said protests in the NFL, where players have sat, knelt or locked arms during the pre-game playing of the national anthem, were creating a useful dialogue around long-neglected issue of race.

"I think it's going in a good direction," said Abdul-Jabbar, who has been a political activist since his college days and is currently raising awareness about the fight against cancer.

"They should continue to speak about the issues that are of concern to them and use their power peacefully and effectively to change this situation.

"This is a real issue for black Americans. The protests against it have a legitimate place in what the traditions of our country are all about."

Abdul-Jabbar is as well known for his political activism as for the unstoppable 'skyhook' which led him to become the NBA's all-time leading scorer in a career spent mostly with the Los Angeles Lakers.

He boycotted the Olympics to protest against racial inequality as a student athlete in 1968, the same year he changed his name from Lew Alcindor after converting to Islam.

Now 70, he rejected the notion that today's protests were in any way disrespectful to the flag or the military, as U.S. President Donald Trump has said.

"These are peaceful protests that are raising awareness of something that is of grave concern," he said.

"People like the president of the United States don't want to admit there is an issue."

The NFL protests began last season when then San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand for the anthem amid a series of high-profile shootings of unarmed black men by police.

The key to solving the problem, Abdul-Jabbar believes, is to create dialogue between law enforcement and the low-income, minority communities where they work, which he said was starting to happen.

Abdul-Jabbar was particularly concerned by July comments by Trump in which he said police should not worry about being too "rough" when they are putting a suspect into a vehicle.

A White House spokesperson later said Trump was making a joke, but Abdul-Jabbar said it was no laughing matter.

"He said it is okay to smack their head into the frame of the car," he said.

"That's no joke in the black community or in the Hispanic community. Those things are done often."

While he believes the protests by NFL players and community work by NBA players like LeBron James and Dwyane Wade were having an impact, he thought America's racial issues are a long way from being solved.

"It's hard to measure success while there is still a body count," he said.

"Maybe when the bodies stop falling?"

(Reporting by Rory Carroll, editing by Nick Mulvenney)


More Related News

Judge tosses Stormy Daniels
Judge tosses Stormy Daniels' defamation suit against Trump

WASHINGTON (AP) - A federal judge dismissed Stormy Daniels' defamation lawsuit against President Donald Trump on Monday, saying the president made a "hyperbolic statement" against a political adversary when he tweeted about a composite sketch the porn actress' lawyer released.

Warren DNA analysis points to Native American heritage
Warren DNA analysis points to Native American heritage

BOSTON (AP) - Sen. Elizabeth Warren on Monday released the results of a DNA analysis that she said indicated she has some Native American heritage, a direct rebuttal to President Donald Trump, who has long mocked her ancestral claims and repeatedly referred to her as "Pocahontas."

Trump says climate change not a hoax, not sure of its source
Trump says climate change not a hoax, not sure of its source

In an interview with CBS' "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night, Trump said he doesn't want to put the U.S. at a disadvantage in responding to climate change. Trump called climate change a hoax in November 2012 when he sent a tweet stating, "The concept of global warming was created

Trump celebrates return of American pastor from Turkey
Trump celebrates return of American pastor from Turkey

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump welcomed American pastor Andrew Brunson to the Oval Office on Saturday, celebrating his release from nearly two years of confinement in Turkey that had sparked a diplomatic row with a key ally and outcry from U.S. evangelical groups.

Trump: More At Stake Over Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance Because He
Trump: More At Stake Over Jamal Khashoggi Disappearance Because He's A Reporter

President Trump warned there will be repercussions if Saudi Arabia is responsible for the disappearance of U.S. resident Jamal Khashoggi.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *

Cancel reply


Top News: US

Hit "Like"
Don't miss any important news
Thanks, you don't need to show me this anymore.