Cleveland Cavaliers star Lebron James said he will stand during the national anthem throughout the NBA season, and not participate in the protest started by an NFL quarterback to highlight abuse by police officers against communities and people of color.
James, 31, said his decision is a personal one, but understand and respects what San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is doing by protesting.
"We have the right to voice your opinion, stand for your opinion and he's doing it in the most peaceful way I've ever seen someone do," James said during the Cavaliers Media Day on Monday. "What I do like about the situation is the negative attention that is thrown upon him by certain people because it's not deserving. He was very educated, very smart, very candid and very demanding about what he wanted to do and he didn't 't ask anybody else to join him."
— News 5 Cleveland (@WEWS) September 26, 2016
Kaepernick, 28, has kneeled during the national anthem as a way to silently and peaceful protest the killings of minorities by police officers. Other NFL players, professional athletes and high school players have participated in the protest for the same reason and showing solidarity with Kaepernick.
James is no stranger to speaking out against injustices.
Earlier this year he joined Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwayne Wade at the ESPYS to promote social change and end gun violence.
James said he understands the issues and is fearful for his 12-year-old son who is just a few years away from being able to drive on his own.
"It's tough being a parent right now when you have a preteen," he said.
On Monday, the Cavaliers opened their doors for their annual media day event at Cleveland Clinic Courts. Head coach Tyronn Lue, General Manager David Griffin and players were peppered with questions about off season workouts, contact negotiations with J.R. Smith and the Kaepernick protest.
Lue and Griffin both said they planned to support their players if they decided to protest during the season. However, Griffin, said he is much more concerned about finding solutions to the problems that encourage the protest.
"We're all going to talk about the political correctness of what they do," Griffin said. "I really like us to start talking about what's going and trying to reach the core of what's going on."
Cavaliers players Iman Shumpert changed his position on protesting on his Instagram account. He initially said he would protest the national anthem in his rap song, "His Story," which was released early this month.
Shumpert, 26, posted a photo of his daughter, Iman Tayla Shumpert Jr., talking about his decision to donate money for every steal to organizations that are working to stop police reform.
"All day I wonder how can I raise her the right way and teach her the right lessons," he said. "I can't explain to her what's going on these days between the badge and the people. The badge was made to protect us, not scare us."
Take a good look at my daughter Iman Tayla Shumpert Jr. The moment she was born was the day I saw the world a lot different. All day I wonder how can I raise her the right way and teach her the right lessons. I can't explain to her what's going on these days between the badge and the people. The badge was made to protect us, not scare us. #stealthefear #steal?fear #weprayforpeace For each steal I’m going to donate money and time towards a foundation(s) striding to improve the struggle between the badge and the citizen. I challenge all sponsors and athletes to match these proceeds to contribute to the cause helping families affected by all the killings leaving families and communities traumatized. As big as an awareness Kap has raised by taking a knee and the bravery it took for so many to follow I also understand those that fought for that flag have nothing to do with whats going on in our society today and I no longer believe taking a knee is the answer. This news makes me sick and I am challenging myself to make a difference! #stealthefear #steal?fear #weprayforpeace