It’s possible the Colin Kaepernick-inpsired movement in the NFL is slowing, but the NBA season is now kicking off and players are already talking about the state of not just police brutality, but racism in the US in general.
One of these is David West, a forward recently signed by the Golden State Warriors. He gave an interview to ESPN’s The Undefeated over the weekend where he explained that, far from joining a recent trend, he’s been silently protesting the anthem for years (he stands in the back of the line behind his teammates) for reasons that he said were “a lot deeper” than the single issue Kaepernick seeks to highlight.
“What about education? What about infant mortality? How about how we die younger and our babies die sooner?,” West told the Undefeated. “We die. [Black men] have the shortest life expectancy. C’mon, man. The health care system? There are so many [issues].”
In a press conference Monday with assembled Warriors media, West clarified his comments further, explaining how his silent protest isn’t about the anthem specifically, but the US generally.
“If you think about the Mike Brown case in Ferguson, he was turned into something other than a human being if you read the words used to describe him,” West told media, according to the San Jose Mercury News transcript. “He was dehumanized. When you dehumanize people then you can treat them however you want and do whatever you want to them. So the humanity part, for me, is the first step that we need to take. That’s always what it’s been about. It hasn’t been about the anthem. It’s been about me being socially aware.”
Meanwhile, Kaepernick-fueled protests continue to spread: as the New York Times reported Tuesday, the movement is coming to high schools around the country.