Following the controversy over NFL players taking a knee during the National Anthem last weekend, NBA legend Bill Russell comes out in support.
The 83-year-old has had quite a voice in the conversation of social justice over the decades.
During the ’50s and ’60s, when racism was very prevelant across the country, especially in Boston, where he played for the Celtics. He spoke up regularly against the issue, which resulted in vandals breaking into his suburban home, smashed his trophies and defecated on his walls.
More than 50 years later, Russell offers his opinion on the racial topic, following comments from President Donald Trump, who declared that any players who kneel during the national anthem should be fired or suspended.
“What I wanted was to let those guys know I support them. I wanted them to know they are not alone,” the NBA legend told ESPN.
Via social media, Russell echoed this statement by posting an image of himself kneeling proudly. “Proud to take a knee and stand tall against social injustice,” he wrote.
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) September 25, 2017
This isn’t the first time Russell did something like this in a public forum. He also marched with Martin Luther King Jr. in the 1963 civil rights march in Washington, D.C., and was also a staunch supporter of Muhammad Ali when he refused his induction into the U.S. Army.