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Jaylen Brown made a name for himself as a leader in the NBA before his sophomore season has even started, so it's no surprise he has some thoughts on the controversy revolving around Donald Trump's comments to athletes over the past week.


Kyrie Irving, however, has not exactly been known to voice his opinion on political matters - at least not directly - before joining the Boston Celtics this summer, but the tide of displeasure over Trump's words have affected the entire sports world in ways we have not seen for generations, if not longer. Trump, who most notably attacked Colin Kaepernick's method of protest at a recent political rally in Alabama, only to "dis-invite" Stephen Curry after he and the Golden State Warriors declined an invitation to the White House, has earned the ire of much of the sports world traditionally dominated by people of color, including Irving's former teammate, LeBron James:


Brown, who has been engaged in social justice since before being drafted by Boston, felt he couldn't "stick to sports" any longer after the exchange became the dominant headline over the weekend, and decided to organize his teammates into an as-of-yet unrevealed strategy (per the Providence Journal's Scott Souza):

"I think our voices are stronger together ... at least open up a dialogue about it. The reality is that there are problems in this country. They aren’t going to be fixed overnight. But let’s us open a discussion on that ... I think sports are highly influential with what’s going on in football and their freedom to express their personal rights,” said Brown. “The president has made some comments, and he’s come at players and teams in a way. I think it’s unconstitutional to do that — to tell them they don’t have the right to speak about whatever it is in their heart they feel needs to be spoken about."

His sentiments were shared by teammate Irving, who said (again, per Souza):

"It’s your right to have that ability to stand up and say something ... whether that’s kneeling, or whatever action it is, as long as the individual knows the intent behind it. It’s not about the veterans, or military, or kneeling for the national anthem, it’s much bigger than that."

Even the normally reserved Brad Stevens, mild-mannered coach of the team, weighed in on the topic:

"When I watch LeBron, and watch Steph, and listen to Kerr, you’re proud to be a part of that ... leaders unite and inspire people. Misleaders divide."

What the team does remains to be seen, but in a city with a justifiable record at sucking at race relations despite the trailblazing the team had created in the sport historically, not everyone assumes it will be just for show. Said Irving:

"The hope is progression ... the beautiful thing is that people are starting to wake up."

While sports may indeed be some people's retreat from politics and the problems they are supposed to be solving, it's worth remembering that whether speaking of all-time greats like Jackie Robinson, Muhammad Ali and even the Celt's own Bill Russell, separating the oppression of black bodies from the enjoyment of their play was not an option.

Here's to a world where we can recognize that struggle with respect — a world with earnest progress at solving these social ills, not just in Boston, but everywhere.



For more stories about the offseason on CelticsLife, click here. For more by Justin, click here.



Image: Chris Forsberg/ESPN
Follow Justin at @justinquinnn

Justin Quinn 9/25/2017 09:19:00 PM Edit
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