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As players plan protests, a Nets veteran speaks of his personal fears

2020 NBA Restart - All Access Practice Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

Shams Charania reports Tuesday of a “growing consensus” among NBA players to kneel during the national anthem when games begin again Thursday. The anthem hasn’t been played prior to the 33 scrimmages. In addition, Charania reports some players will likely wear gear bearing unapproved social messages related to Black Lives Matter protests...

Expect the Nets to join in those protests. After all, all 14 players will wear a social justice message on their jerseys unlike some of the 22 teams in Orlando. Several of the Nets have spoken about personally taking part in street protests, including Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen. And two teammates, Garrett Temple and Kyrie Irving, are vice presidents of the NBPA, the players union.

In addition, NBA coaches could join in the protests, according to several reports. Jacque Vaughn, along with other NBA coaches, wore a button on his polo for a second straight game Monday, one that reads “COACHES FOR RACIAL JUSTICE”. Vaughn has been a big voice in the Nets social justice discussions, reiterating that he has two teenage sons.

Among the players, Jordan Crawford has led discussions of social justice in the locker room and in the “bubble.” For his part, he will wear “Equality” on his jersey, one of four Nets to choose that message. As he told Howard Beck on Beck’s Full 48 podcast last week, that’s “all we want.”

And in an emotional discussion, Crawford also told Beck how he doesn’t believe he will ever get beyond his fear and skepticism of the police which he said began on the streets of his native Seattle...

“Every time I’m driving with my wife [and] I see police officer, I tense up. And my wife said to me, ‘You tense up like you’re doing something wrong.’ Its just a feeling I’ve had since I was younger. Even to this day, I know my car is paid for, I know I have my license. I know I have insurance. I know all these things. I know I’m legal. I know I’m legally driving. You just never know because at that point, it’s in the hands of whoever is pulling you over.

“They can do anything! Right, they can literally do anything and make it look like it was you. You don’t have to imagine. Stuff is being filmed. And these officers still aren’t fired. We don’t want you fired. We want you fired and arrested and spending your life in jail. What gives you the right to take someone’s life because you’re black. What gives you that right?”

Crawford said he expects more protests, much of it driven by social media ... and the players.