Bill Russell has been back in the public sphere for nearly the last 20 years. But he’s experiencing a resurgence now, filling the ever-growing need for respected voices of dissent.
And, he’s even managing to pull off the goofy stunts that people on Twitter pretend to laugh about. Can you believe he flipped off Charles Barkley at the NBA Awards?!
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 26, 2018
But most importantly, Russell is using his revered voice to stand with today’s crop of socially outspoken athletes. He’s voiced support for NFL players who protest during the national anthem on his verified Twitter account, including last September, when he posted a picture of himself kneeling while wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom. The captain says, “Proud to take a knee, and to stand tall against social injustice.”
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) September 25, 2017
Around that time, President Trump’s verbal war with protesting black athletes was at an apex, with the commander-in-chief calling them “sons of bitches” at a rally in Alabama. It was the perfect spot for Russell, one of the most politically active athletes of his time, to weigh in. A participant in the Black Power Movement, Russell was the first NBA player to visit Africa in 1959 and supported Muhammad Ali’s decision to not serve in the Vietnam War.
Russell, 84, has periodically spoken out against Trump in recent months. Earlier this month, the 11-time champ showed support for the Eagles after Trump had disinvited them from the White House.
The best thing that happened to @Eagles since winning the #superbowl is @realDonaldTrump uninviting them to the #WhiteHouse Not 1 #Eagles player took a knee. It’s about social injustice period! #TakeAKnee @MSNBC @BostonGlobe @HuffPost @CNN @AprilDRyan @NFL @YahooNews @nytimes pic.twitter.com/35hGtpmmET
— TheBillRussell (@RealBillRussell) June 6, 2018
In these polarized times, athletes have the ability to reach wide groups of people, many of whom instantly tune out the other side. When Robert De Niro crassly condemns Trump, roughly half of the country rolls its eyes.
But when LeBron James calls Trump a “bum,” it becomes the most-retweeted athlete post of the year (645,000 and counting).
Now, in a sign of these hardened political times, even James gets excoriated for speaking out. “Shut up and dribble,” Fox News host Laura Ingraham infamously commanded him.
It’s doubtful she would ever have the gall to say that to Russell.
Full article @ Bill Russell experiencing resurgence, through flipping off Charles Barkley and standing with outspoken athletes
Source: GreenStreet Blog