LeBron James Thanks Beto O'Rourke for His 'Candid' Defense of Kneeling NFL Players: 'Nothing More American'
Basketball legend LeBron James on Thursday signaled his supported for Rep. Beto O’Rourke (D-TX) after a video of the Senate candidate speaking at length about kneeling NFL players went viral.
The video in question was shot during an August 10 campaign event in Houston, according to the Dallas Morning News. O’Rourke, who’s challenging Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX), was asked about football players who take a knee during the national anthem by a veteran who explained he finds the protests “incredibly frustrating.
“My short answer is no, I don’t think it’s disrespectful,” O’Rourke replied before offering up a long answer James called “candid” and “thoughtful.”
“Reasonable people can disagree on this issue, let’s begin there,” O’Rourke said. “And it makes them no less American to come down on a different conclusion on this issue, right?”
The House Democrat offered a brief history of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s and the “non-violent, peaceful movement to secure better … civil rights for their fellow Americans,” offering examples like the Freedom Riders and Rosa Parks.
“Peaceful, nonviolent protests, including taking a knee at a football game to point out that black men, unarmed, black teenagers, unarmed and black children, unarmed, are being killed at a frightening level right now—including by member of law enforcement,” O’Rourke said. “Without accountability and without justice. And this problem, as grave as it is, is not going to fix itself.”
O’Rourke said players are “frustrated, frankly” with politicians and those “in positions of public trust and power” who have failed to address police brutality and racial injustice.
“And so nonviolently, peacefully, while the eyes of this country are watching these games, they take a knee to bring our attention and our focus to this problem, to ensure that we fix it,” he continued. “That’s why they’re doing it, and I can think of nothing more American than to peacefully stand up, or take a knee, for your rights. Anytime, anywhere, anyplace.”
James, who recently opened the “I Promise School” aimed at at-risk youth in Akron, Ohio, called O’Rourke’s response “a must watch.”
A Must Watch!!! 🙏🏾💪🏾💯‼️ Salute @BetoORourke for the candid thoughtful words! https://t.co/E1YrbqGciZ— LeBron James (@LeBron James)1535033728.0
O’Rourke’s speech also drew the ire of Cruz, who on Saturday came up with this zinger:
“When Beto O’Rourke says he can’t think of anything more American (than players taking a knee), well I got to tell you, I can” before talking about the military.