Okay, so, let’s all be cool while discussing this, yeah?
Alright, so, we’re all over the place on the national anthem protests at this point. Colin Kaepernick started it. Some other athletes joined in. Many other athletes did not. Others did a varied form of protest or decided to take to the microphone instead. Some people are cool with it. Others are not. The world keeps spinning.
It’s been one thing to see what other football players would do but now basketball season is nearing and we’re about to find out whether or not the protest and it’s message is invoked. While there may be some other forms of discussion or protest in the works, it doesn’t sound like anyone on the Syracuse Orange basketball team is going to be participating in that specific one. DaJuan Coleman told Chris Carlson that the team is focused elsewhere.
"Not really, not at all," Coleman said when asked if the team discussed it. "Our main focus is just getting the season going, getting out there and winning games. That's our main focus. The other stuff, I'm sure it'll come, but we haven't been focused on it."
But what if the players did want to protest and take a knee during the anthem? Would they receive pushback from the powers that be? Jim Boeheim provides a masterclass in how to respond to such things.
"The (players) have to decide for themselves if they think that's something they want to do. We would talk about it as a team. I've always been a believer if you want to do something, do it. Do something constructive. I've never been a protest guy. I don't think it accomplishes that much."
"I've always believed you stand for the national anthem, it's important," Boeheim said. "When I do that I think of the soldiers that served our country. I look at it that way. Everyone has their own way of protesting something, drawing attention to something. I'm not going to criticize anyone for doing that. Our players are welcome to talk about it and if they'd like to do something, it's something we would talk about as a team."
Boeheim has always been about giving his players the latitude to make their own choices (for better or worse) and it’s no different here.
Personally I wouldn’t have a problem with it so long as the players understood why they were protesting. The act itself doesn’t mean anything unless you back it up with words and actions. You could come out wearing a t-shirt and accomplish the same thing.
And now I brace for the comments section...