Kobe Bryant said he would have participated in protests during the national anthem if he were still playing for the NBA.

During an interview with "The Undefeated," Bryant was asked whether he would have participated in the peaceful protests during the national anthem if he were still playing.

"I would have participated in it for sure," he said.

ADVERTISEMENT

"I'm sure I would have gotten some flak for it, but that's fine."

Bryant said he thinks the message Colin Kaepernick — a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback who in 2016 was the first NFL player to kneel during the anthem — was trying to get across was that "police brutality needs to stop."

"I think we understand this is a free country. I think we have the right to peaceful protest," he said during the interview.

"From my point of view, that's what the flag represents as well, the ability to speak ... and everybody's entitled to that."

NFL players have protested social justice issues such as police brutality since the 2016 season, either kneeling or raising a fist during the national anthem.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpDemocrats slide in battle for Senate Trump believes Kushner relationship with Saudi crown prince a liability: report Christine Blasey Ford to be honored by Palo Alto City Council MORE threw the issue into the spotlight last year when he attacked NFL players who protested during the national anthem, calling for team owners to fire them.

Trump last year called for the NFL to implement a rule requiring that players stand during the anthem.

After Trump's comments, multiple players in the NFL proceeded to kneel or protest when the national anthem played ahead of their games.

In October, Vice President Pence left a game between the Indianapolis Colts and the 49ers after players protested during the anthem.

"I left today's Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence said at the time in a statement.