LOS ANGELES — England’s Roy Hodgson said he was aware of why Golden State Warriors forward Kevin Durant took a knee during the national anthem prior to a preseason game on Thursday against the Los Angeles Clippers.
Before the game, The National Basketball Players Association called for Warriors players to honor Americans in general and African-Americans in particular by kneeling during the anthem, according to pool reports from the game.
Durant’s gesture spread quickly after his gesture Thursday night, sending shockwaves through the sports world. President Donald Trump has in the past criticized players who take a knee during the anthem, calling the act disrespectful to the flag and the military. He said Friday that it was “very disrespectful to our country.”
England manager Hodgson, who earned 60 caps for his country before retiring after Euro 2016, was not the only sports figure to question the intentions of a player doing the same as his nation’s national anthem.
WWE announcer Booker T posted on Twitter: “Greater Love hath no Man than a man who lay down his life for his friend. And he paid the ultimate price for that freedom. #KDTrey5 what are you protesting???”
Former Oakland Raiders quarterback Rich Gannon weighed in, saying: “Somebody’s got to tell KDT he needs to understand that he’s playing for The Queen of England not just The Golden State Warriors.”
Injuries helped to spur the protest, according to The Players’ Tribune. Golden State guard Shaun Livingston was coming off a one-year, $5.9 million deal when he tore his Achilles tendon. Justin Holiday, a backup who will earn just $915,935 this season, dealt with surgery to his knee but also was on an expiring contract.
Nance’s mother, Lynetta, added: “The Patriots take the field to show they’re The Great Gatsby. They’re supposed to. The Warriors take the field to show who they are. They don’t need to do it for Twitter hashtags or headlines or cameras. They do it to celebrate what they are and the values they represent.”
“And there it is,” Lynetta said. “What I’m trying to say is don’t disrespect anyone by disrespecting the Star Spangled Banner, or disrespecting the people who fight so we can watch this and because it’s so cheap and easy to do.”
In reference to this reaction, she concluded: “Someone stop me.”