SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The Sacramento Kings held their annual media day amidst the controversy over protesting the national anthem.
The Kings are no strangers to this controversy.
A performer took a knee while she sang the national anthem before a preseason game last season. Players also locked arms during the anthem in at least one game.
But President Donald Trump’s profanity-laced message on the topic has put a whole new spotlight on it.
“A lot of their guys were called SOBs by the leader of the free world,” Kings guard Garrett Temple said about Trump’s call to fire NFL players who protest the national anthem.
Surrounded by reporters and cameras, Temple spoke openly about Trump and his comments.
“As bad as it sounds, I wasn’t surprised,” Temple said. “Because he’s shown what kind of person he is.”
Temple also said he believes more NFL players are kneeling now, in a tribute to Colin Kaepernick, who first started the protest over social injustice.
“Although they were kneeling for injustices, they’re also kneeling because Colin is not on an NFL team,” Temple said. “And it’s a little complicated when you see some owners on the field, and those are people that could be offering him a job.”
Other Kings players chose not to touch the topic, including Willie Cauley-Stein, who had been outspoken in the past.
“I feel like if it deals with your president you can get in trouble,” Cauley-Stein said. “If I really wanted to say what I really wanted to say I would get in trouble.”
Kings head coach Dave Joerger said even less than that.
“What are your thoughts on the president’s comments on the NFL players and with Steph Curry and the Warriors?” CBS13’s Steve Large asked Joerger.
“I have no idea,” Joerger said. “I didn’t really look at it, and I certainly don’t want to comment on it.”
Temple says the Kings will likely hold a team meeting soon to determine what they will do during the anthem as their season begins.