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Damian Lillard Compares Response to Athlete Protests Against Police Brutality to Slavery
Unlike any other profession out there, when it comes to being an athlete that’s making a boatload of money to play a game, the majority of people really don’t want to hear them talk. They would rather just have these athletes entertain them with their god-given talent.
Following the controversial comments from President Donald Trump towards athletes who kneel during the national anthem, Damian Lillard decided to throw his two cents into the conversation.
The Portland Trail Blazers star told Oregon Public Broadcasting host Dave Miller that the treatment of today’s athletes who are protesting reminded him of another moment in history when the voices of people of color were being silenced.
“Looking at it now, how they just want us to go out and play basketball and you know, ‘put that jersey on and be proud’ and ‘don’t represent anything, don’t stand for anything, don’t have an opinion, just be respectful’ and ‘go out there and play for me’—it makes me think about kind of the way it was with slavery, when it was, they want the young, strong and you know, ‘His arms are long and he’s got big calves.’ It reminds me of that,” Lillard said.
“They want us to go out and do what we’re built to do. We’re good athletes; we’re physically strong; we’re very capable…They don’t want to know what we think; they don’t care how we feel about something. It’s just ‘Go out there and do what your job is.’”
To avoid the controversy that the NFL is now going through, NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum sent out a memo to all teams making it real clear that all players and coaches must stand for the national anthem.