NBA Hall of Famer and TNT host Shaquille O’Neal is not a fan of staging anti-police protests during the national anthem. O’Neal told reporters he would try to do something “much bigger.”
O’Neal made his comments after being asked about the NFL’s series of protests during a conference call with the media, USA Today reported.
“When you do it at a moment during the National Anthem— and I know people say it’s not about the flag, and I believe that it’s not about the flag— but when you do it in that moment, there’s a large majority of people that say you are disrespecting the flag and they won’t even listen to your conversation,” O’Neal said.
O’Neal then said he “would try to do it much bigger” by holding press conferences, like past sports figures who were successful at social activism.
“When I always look at the photos of Jim Brown, Muhammad Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, they held a press conference and they made their case known. I would do it like that,” O’Neal said. “Because when you do it like that, respectfully, people have no choice but to listen.”
O’Neal has a police background. He was a reserve officer with the Los Angeles Port Police and was a Miami Beach reserve officer. In 2016, O’Neal was sworn in as a sheriff’s deputy in Georgia as part of the Clayton County Sheriff’s Department.
He has since announce that he is running for sheriff.
Charles Barkley was critical of the media’s reporting of the protests. Barkley made his comments during the same conference call.
“I’m just so sick of the media hijacking this conversation because they need something to talk about every day,” Barkley said. “Man, let’s start doing. Stop talking.”
Instead of kneeling and talking about “social justice”, Barkley said that he would give back to the community and do something about the issues.
The NBA has a rule that its players must stand during the national anthem.