LeBron James doesn't plan to take a knee during the national anthem when the NBA season opens. That said, James took time during his media day press conference Monday to bemoan Colin Kaepernick's ongoing unemployment and offer his support.
"I salute Colin Kaepernick for being as powerful as he was and being the one that he had to fall on his sword, unfortunately—and I hate that," James told reporters. "And I hope that some NFL owner—I wish I owned an NFL team right now. I'd sign him today."
Kaepernick remains unsigned three weeks into the NFL season despite throwing for 2,241 yards and 16 touchdowns against four interceptions in 2016. He knelt or sat before every San Francisco 49ers game last season, starting what has become the divisive anthem protest movement.
President Donald Trump has been an outspoken opponent of players who protest during the anthem, which has brought the issue back to the forefront.
"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He's fired. He's fired!'" Trump said Friday at a campaign rally for U.S. Sen. Luther Strange in Huntsville, Alabama.
"You know, some owner is going to do that. He's going to say, 'That guy that disrespects our flag, he's fired.' And that owner, they don't know it, [but] they'll be the most popular person in this country."
James said he does not feel player protests are about disrespecting the military or the flag but that he does not plan on joining the movement.
"My voice and what I do in my community and what I stand for—I don't think that I have to show you guys more getting on the knee or doing something else or trying to create something else," James told reporters. "... It's not about the disrespect of the flag and our military and everybody that has made this world free; it is about equality and people having the option and the freedom to speak upon things that they feel that's not just."