LeBron James References Colin Kaepernick on IG After Death of George Floyd

Paul KasabianSenior ContributorMay 27, 2020

AKRON, OH - JULY 30: LeBron James addresses the media following the grand opening of the I Promise school on July 30, 2018 in Akron, Ohio. The new school is a partnership between the LeBron James Family foundation and Akron Public Schools. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2018 NBAE (Photo by Allison Farrand/NBAE via Getty Images)
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Los Angeles Lakers guard/forward LeBron James referenced former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's kneeling protests of racial injustice and police brutality on Instagram Tuesday following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis the day before.

"Do you understand NOW!!??!!?? Or is it still blurred to you?? 🤦🏾‍♂️ #StayWoke👁" James wrote.

Per Ray Sanchez, Joe Sutton and Artemis Moshtaghian of CNN.com, video of an arrest emerged during which a white Minneapolis police officer was seen kneeling on the neck of a handcuffed black man, Floyd, who told the officers that he could not breathe and that "everything hurts."

Per Libor Jany of the Star Tribune, Floyd later died at a nearby hospital.

Kaepernick sat or kneeled during the national anthem in the 2016 season. He explained the reasoning for his protests in August of that year.

"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 told NFL Media following a preseason game where he sat during the national anthem.

"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."

As Rhiannon Walker (now of The Athletic, then of The Undefeated) wrote in 2016, Kaepernick's protests had received "applause from some folks and heavy condemnation from others."

Some critics strongly voiced their opinions, with President Donald Trump notably saying that NFL kneelers "maybe shouldn't be in the country" in 2018, per BBC News.

But others have praised Kaepernick, including James, who said the following at the 2019 All-Star Weekend, per Josh Peter of USA Today.

"I think it's important to stick up for what you believe in, you what I'm saying? I think with Kap, I stand with Kap, I kneel with Kap.

"I just feel what he was talking about no one wanted to listen to. Nobody ever really wanted to understand where he was actually coming from. I think that anybody that would sacrifice their livelihood for the betterment of all of us, I can respect that and he's done that.

"I mean, you got a guy who basically lost his job because he wanted to stand for something that was more than just him."

Kaepernick has been out of the NFL since the 2016 season.


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