Colin Kaepernick

Shut up and dribble? 'That's ridiculous' says Jaylen Brown

Shut up and dribble? 'That's ridiculous' says Jaylen Brown

BOSTON – LeBron James has not been the least bit coy about his thoughts on President Trump, which makes James not all that different than, you know, most citizens of this country.

There are those from all walks of life who think he’s done a lousy job while others like the job he’s done thus far.

Apparently, James’ thoughts on the president should not be expressed, at least that’s the sentiment of Fox commentator Laura Ingraham who believes James should “shut up and dribble” after James and Kevin Durant had some not-so-flattering comments about President Trump.

When made aware of Ingraham’s response to James’ comments, the Celtics' Jaylen Brown didn’t mince words in expressing how he felt on the matter.

“That’s ridiculous,” Brown said of Ingraham’s “shut up and dribble” comment. “That’s the kind of notion that’s been occurring over the last 10, 15 years and in this generation, we’re trying to change that. You got athletes who are politicians, venture capitalists, musicians, rappers, etc., so it’s becoming more of a popular thing to have other interests outside of basketball. I think that’s normal. Just like people, they have day jobs, but they have interests in sports; they’re into investments, they do all these other types of things.”

Indeed, James is just one of the growing number of professional athletes who are voicing their opinions on social concerns more often in what they perceive as the landscape of this country changing...and not for the better.

But in speaking out on what some athletes believe are problems in our nation that they believe are connected with the current president, there is the potential alienation of fans, which could potentially damage a player’s image in the eyes of some, as well as their brand.

Ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick protested what he believed was increasing social injustice and police brutality by taking a knee while the national anthem played.

Kaepernick’s action set into motion a movement that saw other NFL players take a similar stance.

Still, it has come at a cost for Kaepernick, who was not signed by any NFL team even after a number of teams had multiple injuries at quarterback, which has led to Kaepernick filing a lawsuit against the NFL for alleged collusion.

Seeing how quickly Kaepernick’s playing career stalled, players who voice their support for reform for various social issues run the risk of having a similar outcome to their respective careers.

Brown recalls various basketball camps, in addition to media training sessions, leading up to the 2016 NBA draft, where he was warned about the potential fallout if he took on certain political and social issues.

“They almost teach you to be...not say anything that will get you any backlash or not saying anything out of the norm,” Brown said. “What you’re saying could be true to yourself, but ‘don’t say anything about politics, don’t say anything that is on the line or anything that’s on the fence because you can get backlash for it.’”

Brown added, “As an athlete, if you’re educated on a topic and believe something, I feel like it should be okay to say it.”

There’s a certain responsibility that Brown, 21, believes comes with the platform that he and his fellow NBA players have at their disposal, a position he does not take lightly.

And in his time around other NBA players, he’s found that they too are more thoughtful about issues such as politics and social issues, than they are given credit for.

Part of that involves a long-standing narrative that NBA players and professional athletes in general, are more consumed by their respective sports than real-life issues and concerns that don’t involve sports.

That’s why when it comes to chiming in on social issues and topics of the day, Brown has a pretty simple rule on deciding which issues to speak about.  

“The ones you know about,” he said. “It’s as simple as that. If you’re informed on a situation or you feel you’re informed, and your perspective can be beneficiary, say what’s on your mind. I don’t believe in holding your tongue. Especially something that people can directly benefit from, especially young people watching, looking up to you. Who’s to say if you’re a basketball player, you can’t chime in on other subjects, other topics of the day? I will always disagree with that until the day I die.”

Brown came to Los Angeles for NBA All-Star Weekend eager to play basketball obviously, but he also arranged to have some players spend some time around venture capitalists – something he believes can be of benefit to NBA players later in life.

“It’s super-necessary to always have things to not only challenge not only your physical but also your mental as well,” Brown said. “As athletes, we work on our physical part each and every day, but developing the mental side is important as well. So, what I wanted to do for All-Star weekend, was something that was mentally engaging but also help players long term.”

Brown said the gathering this weekend is about “an education before investment,” adding that it’s about, “learning about this field before you go spending money and investing in things that you have no idea what’s going on. It’s better to learn early than late. So, I’m trying to get a lot of these young guys you see here today to come along with me, to put them in a room full of people who are very successful in that field and maybe bridge some of those gaps.”



Celtics' Brown blasts Trump, recalls racism he's faced


Celtics' Brown blasts Trump, recalls racism he's faced

With the Celtics in London to play the 76ers Thursday, Jaylen Brown is the subject of a lengthy profile in the British daily The Guardian in which the C's 21-year-old rising star impressed interviewer Donald McRae as "the most intelligent young athlete I’ve interviewed in years."

Brown, from Marietta, Georgia, talked about the racism he's faced as a youth and how President Donald Trump "has made it more acceptable for racists to speak their minds."


"I just think Trump’s character and some of his values makes him unfit to lead," Brown told McRae. "For someone like him to be president, and in charge of our troops? It’s scary to be honest.”

Brown said he's faced overt racism playing basketball when he was younger. "I’ve had people call me the n-word. I’ve had people come to basketball games dressed in monkey suits with a jersey on. I’ve had people paint their face black at my games. I’ve had people throw bananas in the stands."

Today, Brown said he sees racism "hidden in more strategic places. You have less people coming to your face and telling you certain things. But [Donald] Trump has made it a lot more acceptable for racists to speak their minds.”

Brown said the President's Twitter war with LaVar Ball helped shaped his opinion of Trump: “He demanded a thank you [from Ball after his son, LiAngelo, at the time a UCLA basketball player, was released from China after being held on a shoplifting charge]. It’s ridiculous. What happened to people doing things out of the generosity of their heart or because it was the right thing to do? There have been multiple situations where it’s been ridiculous but that one was like: ‘OK I’m done. I’m done listening to anything you have to say.’ A 19-year-old kid makes a mistake overseas and [Trump] demands an apology from his dad? I think Trump’s unfit to lead.”

And on another subject that drew the President's ire, former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players protesting racism and police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem, Brown told McRae: “It was peaceful and successful. It made people think. It made people angry. It made people want to talk. Often everybody is comfortable with their role in life and they forget about the people who are uncomfortable. So for Colin to put his career on the line, and sacrifice himself, was amazing. But Colin was fed up with the police brutality and pure racism. He speaks for many people in this country – including me.”

As for basketball, Brown said the young Celtics aren't thinking about how good they'll be in the future. They're more concerned with the present.

"People say maybe we’ll be good in two years – but I think we’re good now. Right now we’ve got one of the best records in the league [32-10]. I think we could be as good as we want to be. But the more we let people construct our mindset, and start saying two years from now, is the moment we lose.”



Report: Kraft deposed in Kaepernick suit against NFL

Report: Kraft deposed in Kaepernick suit against NFL

Patriots owner Robert Kraft is among the NFL owners who will be deposed and asked to turn over their cellphone records and emails “in relation to the Colin Kaepernick collusion case against the NFL,” ESPN’s Adam Schefter reported.

Schefter reported that Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Houston Texans owner Bob McNair will also be deposed and depositions from other owners and league officials will be sought. 

Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is pursuing a grievance, via the league’s collective bargaining agreement, that claims the NFL colluded to keep him out of the league after he became the first player to protest racial inequality and police brutality by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem before games last season.

Kaepernick, who turned 30 on Friday, opted out of his contract with the 49ers in the offseason and is still looking for an NFL job. Numerous NFL players followed Kapernick's lead by kneeling during the anthem before games this season.  

Kraft was among the owners, cited in an ESPN story last month, who played a prominent role in discussions between owners and players about the anthem protests in a meeting in New York on Oct. 17. 

That ESPN story said Kraft “politely rebuked” hard-line owners who were demanding that all players stand for the anthem.