Dan Gilbert Comments on NBA Players Protesting National Anthem

Adam WellsFeatured ColumnistNovember 4, 2016

Portland Trail Blazers lock their arms as they stand for the national anthem before the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets on Saturday, Oct. 29, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

The athlete protest during the national anthem that has dominated so much of the sports conversation for months was addressed by Cleveland Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert on Friday. 

Per Mark J. Burns of SportTechie.com, Gilbert spoke on the topic at the Michigan Sports Business Conference at the University of Michigan:

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick ignited the protest when he sat during the national anthem before the 49ers' preseason game versus the Green Bay Packers. He later began to take a knee and has continued to do so in the regular season.

In August, Kaepernick explained his position on the protest. 

"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color," Kaepernick said, per Steve Wyche of NFL.com. "To me, this is bigger than football, and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

Kaepernick's stance has led to athletes in other sports following suit. Players from the Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury in the WNBA took a knee before their game in September. 

Several NBA teams, including the Cavaliers, have taken a different tactic by locking arms when the anthem plays in a show of unity.