Colin Kaepernick on Friday met with Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, a former star guard whom the NBA suspended 20 years ago for not standing for the national anthem.
Abdul-Rauf was born Chris Jackson. In 1991, he converted to Islam and changed his name. In 1996, he began to sit during the playing of the National Anthem believing the song represented oppression and racism. He believed standing and honoring the Anthem conflicted with his beliefs. In March of 1996, the NBA suspended him for one game, citing a rule that required players maintain a “dignified posture” during the Anthem. The NBPA backed Abdul-Rauf and he and the NBA came to a compromise, where he would stand and pray during the Anthem. Abdul-Rauf was traded by the Denver Nuggets to the Sacramento Kings the following off-season, he was released by the Kings after the following season. He reportedly could not even get an NBA tryout at the age of 29. His NBA career was cut short because of his beliefs. Abdul-Rauf was in Oakland for a screening and discussion of “By the Dawn’s Early Light,” a documentary that follows his political and spiritual journey.