In between talking about new teammates, team goals and their defensive strategy, the Dallas Mavericks took time to address the protest of the National Anthem started by San Francisco 49er’s quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
We’re going to be 100 percent supportive of our guys with whatever they decide to do,” said Head Coach Rick Carlisle of he and owner Mark Cuban. “We don’t know what our guys are going to do at this particular point in time.
“But my feeling is our right to protest can bring important attention to the necessity for change,” he said. “My further view is that protest backed by persistence and action always provides the best chance for meaningful change.”
Carlisle, speaking at the Mavs Media Day on Monday at the American Airlines Center, said he and Cuban – who has taken on a more vocal political stance in recent weeks, specifically with the presidential election – met with the team that morning and addressed a number of issues including the national anthem protests around the nation where Carlisle said Cuban gave his views and backed whatever the team decides.
“It’s a time where people need to communicate. People need to talk,” Carlisle said. “That’s why I was really glad that Mark was here today to have this discussion with our guys, just to let them know we were going to be behind them.”
Team leader Dirk Nowitzki had this to say: “Everyone has their freedom of speech in this country, that’s why we all love this country.
“ I think it (the protests) has definitely started a discussion and I think, as the preseason goes along, we will have meetings with the team about what we want to do and how can we contribute to making this world a better place and we will come up with a solution,” Nowitzki said.
“I think if we do something, the whole team has to be on the same page. And we will go from there. But it is definitely something that has started a discussion in every locker room and that is probably a good thing.”
New Maverick Harrison Barnes agreed. “In terms of his (Colin’s) message. I support, obviously, what he is standing for. The oppression of black people is never an easy topic to talk about it, it makes people uncomfortable,” Barnes said.
“We as a team haven’t decided whether we are going to do something. As Dirk said earlier, whatever we do, we are going to do it in unity.”
Newly acquired big man Andrew Bogut, an Australian native, offered his unique perspective.
“This country prides itself on free speech and if someone wants to do that, it is more than within their right,” he said. “On a personal level for me, I know there is a lot of history here from centuries back which I can’t relate to too much growing up in Australia, although we have our issues there as well.
“But being around my African American teammates, I’ve been more educated on things throughout my career. In the same sense, it’s hard for me. America’s been a place that has let me live my dream and play NBA basketball at the highest level.,” Bogut said. “I understand my teammates point of view if they didn’t want to stand and be a apart of that protest. But at the same time, I’m thankful that American has provided a lot for me and my family.
“So it’s a tough one for me. I’m very supporting of my teammates but at the same time, the country, much like Australia, is built on free speech and everyone has an opinion on different types of things and everyone has the right to do what they feel is right.
“The discussion has been opened. I have no issue what Colin is doing. If he thinks that will help the cause, go for it,” Bogut said.
Wes Matthews said the team will handle this issue “the right way.”
“This is something we will discuss as a team and something we are going to look at. I know that people have their own opinions on this issue, and it definitely is an issue,” he said.
“We are going to handle this the right way. I am not saying that kneeling or protesting is a bad thing. I think, with this organization, we will have the support to voice what we feel we want to voice but we will do it as a unit and we will do it by communicating with one another.”