Tags: Colin Kaepernick | Law Enforcement | kaepernick | protest | anthem | kareem abdul-jabbar | freedom

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Constitution Protects Colin Kaepernick's Freedom of Speech

Image: Kareem Abdul-Jabbar: Constitution Protects Colin Kaepernick's Freedom of Speech

Former NBA player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar delivered remarks on the fourth and final day of the 2016 Democratic National Convention at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA, on July 28, 2016. (AP Photo/Anthony Behar)

By    |   Tuesday, 30 Aug 2016 06:18 PM

NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Sam Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the National Anthem last week "patriotic" — even though "I'm not condoning what he did."

"He's doing just what Thomas Jefferson said should be done," Abdul-Jabbar told CNN's Jake Tapper on Tuesday. "Jefferson said it was important to protect the speech of people who you don't agree with, not the ones who you do agree with.

"Freedom of speech is what helps make our country the greatest on Earth. We have to protect it for everybody.

"Mr. Kaepernick has issues he wants discussed," he added. "Maybe people don't like his style or his timing, but he is trying to call attention to issues important to him. He has the right to do that."

Kaepernick has come under fire from many conservatives for remaining on the bench during "The Star-Spangled Banner" at an exhibition game Friday with the Green Bay Packers.

He said he was taking the action because he opposed treatment of African Americans and other minorities in the United States.

In an op-ed in The Washington Post on Tuesday, Abdul-Jabbar said Kaepernick's action was "supporting what the Fourth of July celebrates and what those war memorials commemorate: the U.S. Constitution's insistence that all people should have the same rights and opportunities and that it is the obligation of the government to make that happen.

"When the government fails in those obligations, it is the responsibility of patriots to speak up and remind them of their duty," Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

"I understand their displeasure with his choice of venue," he said of the quarterback's critics. "You can argue with him about that.

"But what he is doing, calling attention to something that is important to him, I think it is also equally important to him. The whole idea is to establish a dialogue.

"Maybe he can, next time, figure out a way to do it without stepping on so many toes," Abdul-Jabbar said. "What he is doing, using his position to call attention to something is something that we should respect, even though we don't necessarily agree with his timing or tone.

"That is something for him to work out — and hopefully he will work it out as a professional athlete. He has a great platform, and I hope he puts it to good use."

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NBA Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar called Sam Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick's refusal to stand for the National Anthem last week "patriotic" — even though "I'm not condoning what he did."
kaepernick, protest, anthem, kareem abdul-jabbar, freedom, speech
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2016-18-30
Tuesday, 30 Aug 2016 06:18 PM
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