Only 2 people to not kneel during national anthem of Game 1 of Heat-Lakers
During the national anthem of Game 1 of the NBA Finals between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers, only two people didn’t kneel.
Heat forward Meyers Leonard and one of the referees didn’t kneel during the national anthem.
Only one of the Refs and Meyers Leonard standing up during anthem. pic.twitter.com/paYkEmU8KG
— Consigliere (@consigliere_22) October 1, 2020
For those who have followed the Heat in the bubble, Leonard has opted to stand up during the national anthem. However, as he explained before, this doesn’t mean that he’s against the Black Lives Matter movement. His choice to stand up during the anthem stems from the fact that his brother served two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines.
“Some of the conversations I’ve had over the past three days, quite literally, have been the most difficult,” Leonard told The Associated Press in August. “I am with the Black Lives Matter movement and I love and support the military and my brother and the people who have fought to defend our rights in this country.”
In another interview, the Heat center further explained his stance. He doesn’t see kneeling during the anthem as a sign of disrespect. In fact, it’s “very powerful.”
Having known @MeyersLeonard for years, can say he doesn’t have prejudice bone in his body. He agonized, cried at times about not kneeling with teammates. His brother served in Marines, so it was a painful decision. I asked him if he still views kneeling as disrespectful to flag: pic.twitter.com/02YzUUtw3R
— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 2, 2020
While some NBA fans were caught off guard with Leonard’s antics, his teammates knew the story behind his actions and supported him throughout. Heat forward Andre Iguodala said:
“On the one hand, we’re saying, ‘We want you to see things from our perspective,’” Iguodala said, per NBC Sports. “But by saying that, I also have to see things from his perspective. And I can see where he’s coming from.”
The NBA has given its players the power and the platform to voice out their opinions. Leonard has certainly used it well, supporting both the community and his brother.