These days, when athletes kneel during the playing of the national anthem or skip out of it completely, it makes national headlines. Somehow, two of the NBA’s biggest superstars went unnoticed when they skipped out on the ceremony each time this past season.
In a write-up by Matt Sullivan via GQ.com, he detailed how both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving skipped out on participating during the playing of the national anthem during games this season. They would disappear into the tunnel minutes before the ceremony took place. They’d then come back onto the court before the game was about to begin.
“After he returned to the court in January, Kyrie Irving began slipping out of pre-game warmups ten minutes before tipoff, disappearing into the shadowy tunnel of an arena — and skipping the national anthem,” Sullivan wrote. “Kevin Durant would silently follow about a minute after Irving, as the cameras cut to commercial and the lights went down.”
Veteran forward Deandre Jordan also often joined Durant and Irving in their silent protest this season.
SCOOP: Kyrie Irving + Kevin Durant skipped the national anthem this year
Via reporting from my book (https://t.co/ZNyLbzFQGF) + 5 sources close to Nets stars who acknowledge disappearing act went from Capitol Riot thru playoffs
— Matt Sullivan (@sullduggery) June 24, 2021
It’s pretty remarkable this went unnoticed for so long. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving kept their demonstration out of the spotlight then entire year.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began a player-driven movement during the playing of the national anthem years ago. He began kneeling while it was being played before games. Hundreds of athletes have participated ever since.
Irving and Durant are the latest well-know sports stars to use the playing of the national anthem as a way to protest something. It’s still unclear what that something is.