The Brooklyn Nets stood with their arms around each others’ shoulders as the National Anthem played prior to Thursday night’s first preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. This, as teams around the league have locked arm-in-arm and stood side-by-side in solidarity, not protest, against violence in minority communities, during these early days of the NBA’s preseason.
Much has been made of the San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s "protest," as he’s taken a knee during the National Anthem in a statement against police brutality. Naturally, Kaepernick’s stance has drawn a bit of a line in the sand, and the conversation has been more about Kaepernick and his first amendment rights, and less about the issue at hand.
So, naturally, after the game, Jeremy Lin, the team’s leader both on and off the basketball court, was asked about the team’s decision to stand with their arms around each other shoulders during the Anthem.
Lin has been vocal about social issues in his early days with the Nets, for the most part coming off as thoughtful, apolitical and not driven by a specific agenda.
What moved me most about his statement was this: "That’s something I’ve spent a lot of hours thinking and talking...(about)." That’s a great place to start, especially since such heavy issues require much thought, and are best served when you put thought into action.
The Nets stood in solidarity, locked in arms, over a heavy issue. It was a moment that had mostly gone unnoticed, as all NBA teams are doing the same, but it certainly wasn’t unproductive -- a group of 20-plus men had a conversation, some talking about it for hours, about a serious issue and the result was, they stood in solidarity and support for both sides of the issue.
Lin will continue to be looked upon as the person to answer for any and all future Nets actions/decisions related to social issues. But whatever the issue, whatever side you’re on, as long as the solution to the problem consists of hours of thoughtful conversation, that’s really all you can ask for.