Kaepernick protests 'touched a nerve', says Durant
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[November 28, 2017]
(Reuters) - Kevin Durant says
Colin Kaepernick's protests during the U.S. national anthem "touched
a nerve" in society and sparked a national conversation about issues
such as racial equality, the Golden State player told the San Jose
In an interview published on Monday, Durant said he admired the
former San Francisco 49ers quarterback for taking the stance,
despite the backlash it provoked.
"It definitely put me in a different place because we just started
talking about stuff thatís always been going on," Durant said.
"It was really out of nowhere ... He shocked everybody by doing
"You just see he touched something in people that we didnít know was
there," Durant said. "I posted a picture of him on my Instagram, and
the comments under that were ridiculous.
"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 ..."
Kaepernick has been unemployed this season despite injuries at other
teams that have created job openings. Some experts attribute his
political activism as the key reason teams are wary of signing him.
He opted out of his contract with the 49ers in the offseason but has
said his agent reached out to all 32 teams to make sure they were
aware of his interest in playing this season.
The protests began in 2016 when Kaepernick began sitting and later
kneeling during the anthem to call attention to the killing by
police of unarmed black men and boys across the United States, as
well as racial disparities in the criminal justice system.
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Warriors forward Kevin Durant (35) watches from the bench against
the Oklahoma City Thunder during the fourth quarter at Chesapeake
Energy Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports
Kaepernick inspired many NFL players to kneel in protest during
renditions of the national anthem, most notably in September after
U.S. President Donald Trump said kneeling players should be fired
for disrespecting the country.
Durant, 29, who moved to the NBA champion Warriors last year after
eight seasons with the Oklahoma City Thunder, said his focus on
basketball had helped insulate him from trouble when he was growing
"I kind of grew up in this basketball world, whereas my talent kind
of overrides what I look like," said the 2014 NBA Most Valuable
"I didnít have it as rough when it comes to that, as far as social
or systematic oppression or any social issues. They didnít really
apply to me because I could put a ball in a basket."
(Reporting by Andrew Both in Tokyo; Editing by Peter Rutherford)
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