Back in 2017, Kevin Durant not only supported the many examples of protest during the national anthem around the NFL, he truly believed sports could unify people across the country.
“A couple hours out of the day, you see people from different walks of life coming together and celebrating a sport. That’s what it’s all about,” Durant said Sunday, per Chris Haynes of ESPN. “Obviously, wins and losses and who’s the best, that stuff is fine, but the bigger picture in sports, it just brings us all together, and you get to enjoy each other for a couple hours.”
“And I think our NFL players are doing a great job of sending a great message, and we stand behind them as athletes, and we support them as well.”
The NBA requires players to stand during the anthem. However, the policy has not been enforced in recent years. Durant and Kyrie Irving found a way to boycott all season long without many realizing it.
In a write-up by Matt Sullivan via GQ.com, he detailed how both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving skipped out on participating during the playing of the national anthem by disappearing into the tunnel minutes before the ceremony took place.
“After he returned to the court in January, Kyrie Irving began slipping out of pre-game warmups ten minutes before tipoff, disappearing into the shadowy tunnel of an arena — and skipping the national anthem,” Sullivan wrote. “Kevin Durant would silently follow about a minute after Irving, as the cameras cut to commercial and the lights went down.”
Footage has since been obtained: