Charles Barkley Defends Athletes Who Stand

Podcasts have certainly become trendy in the past few years. Most of the time, something interesting comes up in podcasts. This time, it was all about standing up for the national anthem. A few days back, TNT had a pre-game podcast. The key speaker of this podcast was Charles Barkley, a famous NBA Hall of Fame personality.

During his podcast, he defended the athletes who choose not to kneel when the national anthem is played. As controversial as it sounds, Barkley shared his opinion. 

He began his podcast saying, “Listen. The national anthem means different things for different people.” He continued to say that the unified nature of the players makes a big difference in the game, but if someone chooses not to kneel down, it is their personal choice — it should not have any effect on the game. And that doesn’t make them a bad or a good person. Instead, it is an emotion they share. If a player doesn’t kneel down, it clearly shows that he has a different kind of bond with the anthem. His decision has to be accepted.

Mainly because it is a personal one, Barkley also said, “The anthem means something to him. He should not be vilified.”

Another incident 

Indeed, something did happen before Barkley made these statements. A few days prior, Shaquille O’Neal, another Hall of Famer, showed appreciation to all players who knelt during the National Anthem. In the eyes of Shaquille O’Neal, standing or kneeling for the national anthem both mean something big. O’Neal said, “That was so beautifully done.”

He continued to say, “Done in Unity.” O’Neal focused on why it is important to speak up. He even said that it is important to speak up about what is in your mind. O’Neal stressed on the fact that our voices have to bring awareness about various topics that are less spoken in public. Most of his “talk” focused on the upcoming November elections.

He was clear that the fight has to continue and the movement has to keep going. O’Neal concluded that he was proud of everyone. 

Meanwhile, Barkley had a different opinion regarding players who decided to kneel for the national anthem and players who chose not to. 

A series of discussions have happened around this incident. For example, Rush Limbaugh said that it has gotten to an extent where players who stand need to be defended. On the other hand, players who kneel down are in opposition — they are opposing the entire national anthem. In other words, they could be opposing something that is happening in the country. Those who kneel shouldn’t need to be defended. 

Once Barkley made his statement, it was discussed by Shannon Sharpe. Sharpe is a famous star in the NFL. The issue was also discussed by the sports writer Skip Bayless. Sharpe was of the opinion that Colin Kaepernick should have been defended by Barkley the moment he knelt. Also, Kaepernick asserted on the fact that no one should be vilified because they stood or knelt for the National anthem. 

Words from Bayless 

Bayless said that he doesn’t intend to condemn any player for their decision to stand or kneel. He made it clear that he is also of the opinion that no one should be vilified for their behavior during the national anthem. However, he continued to say that anyone could roll eyes, including Bayless, on players who don’t kneel down, mainly because there is no “big” reason out there. 

Bayless was quite clear on the fact that racism needs to come to end, especially for the development of the country as a whole. This is a simple fact that every community needs to understand and appreciate. 

Bayless quoted that the death of blacks at the hands of the white community needs to end. White cops have to stop murdering the common man and woman from the black community. To achieve this, everyone from the country has to be as dedicated as possible. If kneeling down for the national anthem means liberty and justice — he wouldn’t think twice to do it.

Since this is not happening in the country, he has the freedom to “not” kneel down for the anthem. 

On the other hand, Sharpe stressed on how people are using religion to keep the black and white community separated. Regardless of religion or any other difference, all of us should show unity, even in diversity.