Kevin Durant weighed in on the Colin Kaepernick controversy this week, following Steph Curry's lead in backing the 49ers quarterback in his ongoing protest of the national anthem over issues involving racial inequality.
"I'm behind anyone who stands up for what they believe in," Durant said. "Colin Kaepernick is standing up for what he believes in. That's what makes our country so great, right? You have the luxury to do so. He was unapologetic about it and, in his defense, I don't think he was trying to disrespect anyone. I think he was trying to get his point across. I'm all for anyone who wants to do that. As athletes, we have this huge platform. A lot of people are watching at all times. Sometimes it may not be what you do, they like. But if you feel like it's gonna be impactful, that's on you. I feel like everyone should stand up for what they believe."
This is all theoretical and philosophical now, but these questions are about to get substantially more serious. In two weeks, training camp begins, and shortly after that, the preseason. The NBA is more socially active and outspoken than any other league, both on a player and league-wide level. Players in other sports and other NFL players are starting to follow Kaepernick's example in kneeling to protest the same issues. It is not beyond the imagination that some NBA players will also follow that approach.
How the league handles it will be interesting, and it's something you will likely hear about in the coming weeks. You can bet they're already forming a policy and speaking to players about what they feel is appropriate as they try to shape the conversation in a way they can live with. Ultimately, those decisions will be up to the players, and the recognition and backlash will be theirs as well.