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Charles Barkley Strongly Defends Athletes Who Stand For the National Anthem


During a podcast on TNT, basketball legend Charles Barkley strongly defended professional athletes who refuse to kneel for the National Anthem.

“My thing is, listen. The national anthem means different things to different people. I’m glad these guys are all unified. But if people… If people don’t kneel, they’re not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear. I’m glad they had unity, but if we have a guy who doesn’t want to kneel ’cause the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified.”


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Shortly before Barkley made the comments, NBA star Shaquille O'Neal praised the players for kneeling for the National Anthem.

“That was so beautifully done, done in unity. Nice to see. Think it’s very important that you speak up. Very important that you speak your mind. So we use our voice to bring awareness. Now we have to go vote. We have to continue to fight, continue the movement. Again, I’m proud of everybody," he said.

During his radio show, Rush Limbaugh noted, “It’s gotten to that point. The people who want to stand for the national anthem in the NBA are the people who have to be defended, not the people who are kneeling in opposition to the anthem, in opposition to the country. They don’t have to be defended. But the people who don’t want to kneel, the people who want to express their appreciation and honor for the national anthem, for the country?”

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While reacting to Barkley's comments, sports commentators Shannon Sharpe and Skip Bayless discussed their views on the situation.

Check out what Bayless had to say:

Just me personally, I’m not gonna condemn anybody who doesn’t kneel. I’m not gonna vilify anyone who does not kneel. But this is just me, and maybe I’m not objective about this, so disqualify me if you will, but I am gonna roll my eyes at those who don’t kneel because I don’t think there any great reason not to kneel right now. That’s just me from my heart of hearts. But I believe in the plight and the cause of your community and I have from the start and I get emotional about it, but obviously this is a time, a crucial time, in sort of the evolution and development of this country, when we need to unite to end racism. It’s just as simple as that.

And we especially need to dedicate ourselves as white people to stopping the murdering of unarmed black men and women by white cops. That’s number one on my list. And that requires dedication from everyone. So look, I believe in God; I believe in this country, but if I had a chance during the anthem I would definitely kneel. It’s about liberty and justice for all. And right now that’s not operating in our country. So, forgive me, but when somebody says for religious — the baseball player for the Giants —he says, “I don’t kneel for anyone but God; I’ll kneel for God.” Okay, I appreciate that —

Sharpe said: “The problem I have when people use religion is that they use religion to keep blacks and whites separated. They say God’s saying blacks and whites shouldn’t be together. They shouldn’t go to class; they shouldn’t drink at the same water fountain. They shouldn’t go to the restaurant together. They used the Bible for slavery. And so that’s the problem.”

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What are your thoughts? Let us know in the comments below!

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