James Harden addressed reporters on Friday after wearing a couple of controversial face masks on Thursday, both of which were linked to the “Blue Lives Matter” rhetoric.
Harden was photographed wearing two different masks, one with a blue-toned American flag which was posted in the Houston Rockets Twitter account, and another sporting Marvel's popular comic book character “The Punisher,” which has been linked to the “Blue Lives Matter” message.
The Rockets superstar was quick to note that his wearing of the mask “wasn't trying to make a political statement” and was just trying to find something that “covered my whole beard,” according to ESPN's Tim MacMahon.
James Harden said wearing this mask — associated with "Blue Lives Matter" — was not meant to make a political statement. He said he wore it because it covers his beard and wasn't aware of the association. https://t.co/tz2EsAbs6h
— Tim MacMahon (@espn_macmahon) July 17, 2020
Harden said he was unaware of the meaning behind the mask:
“It was just something that covered my whole beard. I thought it looked cool. That was it.”
Harden said he's still in the process of determining how he will voice his support for the Black Lives Matter movement while in the NBA bubble, still unsure if he will don a message on the back of his jersey.
If Harden is to get the benefit of the doubt, he should make his pro-Black Lives Matter message count. The NBA only provided a few message choices to put on their jerseys, which left many players disappointed at the way this was handled.
Stars like LeBron James and Anthony Davis chose to keep their last names as customary, while some have chosen to leave it blank for a better emphasis on social justice issues.