LeBron James on kneeling: 'I hope we made Kaep proud'
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NBA star LeBron James and his Los Angeles Lakers teammates, along with players from the Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans, knelt during the national anthem on Thursday as the league reopened its coronavirus-delayed season on courts that read "Black Lives Matter."

“I hope we made Kaep proud,” James said after the game, referring to former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

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During the 2016 season, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback was the first NFL player to begin kneeling before games during "The Star-Spangled Banner" to protest racial inequality and police brutality. He was widely criticized by conservatives, including President TrumpDonald John TrumpWhite House sued over lack of sign language interpreters at coronavirus briefings Wife blames Trump, lack of masks for husband's coronavirus death in obit: 'May Karma find you all' Trump authorizes reduced funding for National Guard coronavirus response through 2020 MORE.

“Kaep was someone who stood up when times weren’t comfortable,” James said. “When people didn’t understand. ... It had absolutely nothing to do about the flag — he explained that and people never listened; I did. We just thank him for sacrificing everything that he did.” 

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver told The New York Times he will not be enforcing a longstanding rule within the league that requires players to stand during the anthem.

“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our longstanding rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” Silver said.