Three-on-three basketball hadn't even debuted yet, and the league already had its first "Kaepernick." He's retired NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, and Mark Spears of The Undefeated (ESPN satellite blogsite) calls him "the most surprising player suiting up."
Abdul-Rauf, 48, played nine years in the NBA before retiring after the 2001 season. He's a member of the Three-Headed Monsters in the Big3 League, who began their season today. He'll no doubt steal some attention from Colin Kaepernick because, in the 1995-86 NBA season, he refused to stand for the national anthem. He later stood, but ignored the American flag, which he called "a symbol of oppression."
Spears interviewed Abdul-Rauf to get his take on the flag and a few other things, and here's how it began:
It’s nothing that I regret. I’m still doing the same things. I’m still speaking out against what I see as injustice, whether it’s on college campuses or conventions. That hasn’t changed and I don’t plan on that changing. So, I still feel the same way.
Black folks are still being victimized disproportionately in the penal institution. It seems they are definitely disproportionately being shot and killed by policemen. Just overall the position that we are confronted with, and also being a Muslim, look at what Muslims are going through in this nation. I don’t think really anything has changed, by and large.
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Abdul-Rauf has met with Kaepernick and says "it’s not surprising to me what he is going through. I said from the beginning that I wouldn’t be surprised if he didn’t get another job. With all the death threats and assassinations of his character, it mirrors what I went through. This is just the way things are. It’s unfortunate when in particular black athletes are in this position."
Spears just took it all in. He never countered that Kaepernick chose to put himself in the position of toxic, unwanted NFL free agent. Fully using The Undefeated forum, Abdul-Rauf proved himself a well-versed leftist influenced by the icons of the far Left:
I remember the words of Noam Chomsky saying all these other things could easily be accepted and we can let them go. But to try to influence people to be socially, racially and politically conscious opposite of what the mainstream wants us to think is unacceptable. Athletes are looked at and viewed with much more importance than teachers and professors by far by the youth.
Abdul-Rauf said when people like Kaepernick take a stand against the image athletes are supposed to have, "then they will make an example of you because they want to discourage other athletes from doing the same thing. And that’s just my take on it. And it doesn’t surprise me. It’s just sad. You are hoping that it will galvanize us as people and say, look we not going to tolerate this anymore, period."
The former NBA player said there are "blatant examples" of "white or other people" doing worse things than Kaepernick has done. (Spears never pressed him for particulars). "But he speaks out as an activist and you want to deny him access to a profession that he has been training most of his life for, it’s not like he can just pick up right now and go and become an engineer and a doctor. And you are trying to take his livelihood away just because of that when you see all of these other examples."
"And unfortunately, we don’t come together and fight and hit them where it hurts in the pocket," Abdul-Rauf compained. "It’s just sad. My heart goes out to him, and I think about it constantly. He seems to still be doing well and still giving and pursuing his passion, but it bothers me. It really does."
The Three-Headed Monsters just tipped off their game against the Ghost Ballers on Fox Sports 1. If the national anthem was played, it wasn't included in the broadcast. So even if we don't know what Abdul-Rauf would have done, we know his opinion of the Spar Spangled Banner. Which The Undfeated is perfectly fine with.