Meyers Leonard has spent the NBA’s resumption at Disney World standing for what he believes in. In a less public way, the Miami Heat center also has been standing up for what the league has made a primary purpose.
He’s visible as one of the few who has elected to stand during the national anthem for the games at the Wide World of Sports complex, while most kneel to protest systemic racism and support Black Lives Matter. However, Leonard revealed Friday a different type of statement he and his wife have made.
“I know in my heart, and if I can shed some light on this, people can be both,” he said, his brother having served two tours in Afghanistan with the U.S. Marines. “I can have true, raw emotion in my heart about the military and what that flag and that anthem and everything about it means to me. Because every time that anthem comes on, it makes me think of my brother, it makes me think of other people who have sacrificed who I was close with. By the way, sacrifice to the ultimate extent. This is not easy for me.
“But, at the same time, I look at this culture that I’ve been around in the NBA and now in Miami, for many years, and I see it, I understand it, I try to feel that pain. And I do. So that’s why I’m saying you can be both. There’s nothing wrong with that.”