Kevin Durant, star forward of the Golden State Warriors, says that Colin Kaepernick’s national anthem protests changed his perspective on the issue of race in the arena of sports.
In an interview with The Mercury News that was recently published Monday morning. Durant said that Kaepernick’s decision to sit down and take a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality towards people of color and other racial inequalities “definitely put me in a different place” and eventually helped him come to a shift in his own self-identity.
“He brought something out of people that they’d been hiding for a long, long time that needed to be revealed,” Durant told the newspaper. “I’d rather you tell me that you don’t like me because of my skin than hide that (stuff). So he kind of touched a nerve and the outrage from it made me a fan of him just because he decided to take all that on, but also tell a message of, ‘Yo man. Just treat us fair, treat us equal, we’re people too. We’re not less than you because we don’t look like you.'”
Colin Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, remains a free agent and filed a collusion grievance against NFL owners this month. Kaepernick and Durant were two of the four men that appeared on the cover of GQ’s magazine’s “2017 Men of the Year” issue that was released earlier.
Durant was also asked by The Mercury News about his tattoos of Tupac Shakur and Rick James on his right leg. Later in the interview, Durant shared some of his insights into his own personal shift and how it was the result of “just kind of seeing how rough it is for an average black man.”
“A black man makes one mistake…I see how far we get pushed down,” Durant told The Mercury News. “For me, I kind of grew up in this basketball world, whereas my talent kind of overrides what I look like.
“I didn’t have it as rough when it comes to that, as far as social or systematic oppression or any social issues. They didn’t really apply to me because I could put a ball in a basket. Just me saying that kind of woke me up a little bit, like ‘Damn, that’s all I’m good for?’ Like, if I wasn’t a basketball player, what kind of man would they look at me as, you know what I’m saying?”