Colin Kaepernick started a national conversation when he refused to stand for the national anthem in protest of the racism, oppression, and police brutality against black people.  Many NFL players have followed Kaepernick’s lead, and it seemed that Golden State Warriors new addition David West was doing the same, but it turns out he stands a couple of feet behind the rest of his teammates during The Star Spangled Banner for a LONG time, and his reasons go much deeper.

“What about education? What about infant mortality? How about how we die younger and our babies die sooner?” power forward West told The Undefeated after the Warriors’ 97-93 preseason loss to the Toronto Raptors in Vancouver, British Columbia. “We die. [Black men] have the shortest life expectancy. C’mon, man. The health care system? There are so many [issues]. It’s like, whatever …

“I can’t start talking about civic issues. I can’t start talking about civility and being a citizen if m—–f—— don’t even think I’m a human being. How can you talk about progress and how humans interrelate with one another when you don’t even recognize our humanity? We got to somehow get that straight first so we’re on the same playing field. And that’s how I feel. There is just a lot of stuff, man.”

While West respects Kaepernick’s stance, he lacks optimism about its lasting impact.

“What he is doing is great, but I think it’s going to pass, too,” West said. “I’m not as optimistic about everything as everyone always seems to be. I don’t wear it on my sleeve like I used to. I’ve gotten older and a little bit more mature in terms of my thinking. But I understand human rights issues.

“Until you handle humanity, how do you get to talking about mass incarceration? How do you get to talk about our undereducated kids? How do we get to the health care system? How do we get to all that and you don’t even think I’m a human?”

West is a self-proclaimed black history enthusiast, an avid reader, loves such philosophers as Plato and Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche. He attended military school in his youth and adores deep nonsports discussions. The two-time NBA All-Star said he has been standing 2 feet behind his teammates during the national anthem for so long that he forgot how long he had been doing it.

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