Raptors plan some kind of protest against police brutality
DeMar DeRozan says friend of his recently shot and killed by police
The Toronto Raptors plan to join the growing chorus of pro athletes speaking out against police brutality, a topic that has hit close to home for DeMar DeRozan.
"I had a close friend of mine a couple of weeks ago that was murdered by the police, shot 17 times," the star guard said Monday at the team's media day prior to the start of training camp. "It was something I haven't spoke out about, it was moreso of just understanding what's going on in our society and how much I can help."
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand for the "Star-Spangled Banner" in protest of racial inequality in the United States.
Kaepernick's protest has spread across the NFL, and now some NBA players will likely follow suit when the season tips off next month.
The Raptors say they're all for using their high-profile platform to press for change, but didn't offer specifics of how they would do that, including whether they would refuse to stand during the anthem.
"It is our job, as leaders here, to have conversations about it," coach Dwane Casey said. "All I tell our guys is to be informed. . . and do it from the heart. It should be about bringing awareness to the situation and what's going on."
The NBA has a rule that players and coaches must stand during the national anthems, although the rule wasn't mentioned in a letter to players last week.
The letter said the league and union, "working together, have begun developing substantive ways for us to come together and take meaningful action."
DeRozan said there are "many a ways" to protest.
"Anything we do, we're supporting one another, and that's what it's all about, being able to try to make a difference, and understanding everybody's point of view, thought process," DeRozan said. "So just moreso having that dialogue and getting everybody together and understanding: how can we help to be beneficial to the outside world."
LeBron supports Kaepernick
LeBron James says he plans to stand during the national anthem, but he supports Kaepernick's decision to kneel in protest.
James has always been outspoken on social issues. He said Monday he intends to stand while "The Star-Spangled Banner" is played before games because "that's who I am, that's what I believe." The NBA superstar, however, admires Kaepernick's "peaceful" handling of the situation.
James spoke Monday as the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers got ready to open training.
He says he is troubled by repeated videos of police shootings. James is a father of three and spoke of his fears of his son calling to say he got pulled over by police, and "I'm not that confident that things are going to go well and my son is going to return home."
With files from The Associated Press