Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protest truly has started a national conversation, one that reached the Dallas Mavericks on media day Monday. If any of the players choose to protest, either by kneeling or in another way, Rick Carlisle made it clear that they have “100 percent” support of the organization behind them this season.
Shortly before media day began, Carlisle and Mark Cuban had a team-wide conversation about it with the team at the American Airlines Center.
“We had a really good discussion about it,” Carlisle said. “Mark gave his views. We’re going to be 100 percent supportive of our guys, with whatever they decide to do. We don’t know what our guys are going to do at this particular time.”
Other players said that was just a starting point, and that further discussions will take place throughout training camp and going forward. For Dirk Nowitzki, whatever they decide, the most important thing is that the team presents a united message among themselves.
“It (has) definitely started a discussion, and as preseason goes along, we’ll have meetings with the team about what we want to do, and how we can contribute to making this world a better place,” Nowitzki said. “If we do something, I think the whole team has to be on the same page.”
The topic makes some people uncomfortable to talk about, but it’s incredibly important, which new Maverick Harrison Barnes made sure to note.
"I support obviously what he's standing for,” Barnes said of Kaepernick. “The oppression of black people is never an easy topic to talk about. It makes a lot of people uncomfortable. And it does need to be changed about that. I definitely am with him on that.
“In terms of the whole national anthem protest, I think that's an individual thing. We as a team haven't decided whether we're going to do something on that. I think as Dirk was saying earlier, whatever we're going to do we're going to do in unity."
Rick Carlisle expressed support for athletes who have chosen to protest in an incredibly articulate way, as we’ve all come to expect from him.
“My feeling is our right to protest can bring important attention to the necessity of change,” he said. “Protest backed by persistence and action always provides the best chance for meaningful change. So it’s a time where people need to communicate. People need to talk.”
I have to take this opportunity to point you to Gregg Popovich’s comments on Monday, too, which were fascinating and thought-provoking on several levels.
Kaepernick’s movement will only grow further, and there’s little doubt that many NBA players, including some Mavericks, will join him in at least some manner this season.