News and Commentary

Kareem Abdul Jabbar: National Anthem Just Like Songs Of Slavery

President Trump is just like the oppressors who forced their slaves to sing patriotic songs, according to NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.

Writing in The Hollywood Reporter on Tuesday, the former basketball star likened the debate over NFL players singing the national anthem to slaves who were forced to sing while they work.

“Slaves are generally expected to sing as well as to work.” Abdul-Jabbar wrote, adding they would often sing their “oppressor’s feel-good songs.”

“Currently, the song being demanded is the national anthem during football games,” wrote Abdul-Jabbar. “But during a warm-up game on Aug. 10, despite President Trump’s previous condemnation, several Eagles players kneeled during the anthem or raised their fists — their way of singing their own song.”

Abdul-Jabbar says those players using the anthem to protest still love their country, but demand it lives up to its principles.

“For them, lyrics like ‘land of the free’ don’t accurately represent the daily reality for people of color,” he continued. “They love their country but want that country to recognize the suffering that occurs when it isn’t living up to its constitutional promises.”

On President Trump saying the NFL players were outraged at something they were “unable to define,” the former NBA star called him a “privileged darling of white supremacists.”

“Who would know better how to define their outrage: the privileged darling of white supremacists, the 94 percent-white team owners, the 75 percent-white head coaches or the 70 percent-black players who actually take the field each week?” Abdul-Jabbar rhetorically asked.

Fox News noted that the basketball star’s words here match what he said last year when he praised the NFL protesters during the height of the anthem controversy.

“They have evolved from quiet protest and heckling sarcasm, to respected leaders informing the public about what’s at stake” he wrote in 2017. “And in doing so, perhaps change the downward social spiral we are in.”