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Utah Jazz GM Dennis Lindsey’s comments on protests during National Anthem

“We can reject that premise that it’s a binary choice.”

Utah Jazz General Manager Dennis Lindsey when asked whether the Utah Jazz plan to talk to their players about demonstrations before next week’s preseason game against the Sydney Kings had this to say:

You guys have been around long enough to understand some of my background, being a youth home kid, living with people of Hispanic origin, Asians, African-Americans. In some ways, I’m uniquely advantaged to see people as people.

What you guys can do to help and the way things are especially after yesterday in the NFL ... In an odd way, we had this binary choice, right? If you don’t stand, you’re not patriotic. But if you do stand and put your hand over your heart you don’t have a social conscious, an awareness of the social environment. I think you [media] as much as anybody, and I’m not trying to preach here, is that we can reject that premise that it’s a binary choice. You can be highly patriotic and yet be very socially aware. Both things beget the other, if you really think about it.

We want our players to be really aware of the state they live in, the country they live in, and the choice. And look, we don’t live in a perfect union, but we aspire to be better. The best way to do that is for our country to argue with itself, and debate. And hopefully those of us in the middle can bring a little semblance of rationale and poise that comes along with it. But we’ll be sure to have that conversation in a really thoughtful way.

It’s an aspiring thing to see someone reaching for dialogue from both sides of this issue. This is not a binary cause. To frame the issue of racial inequality as one that pits “patriots” vs “social warriors” is wrong. We in America strive to have a better union. That union sometimes has arguments and disagreements, but necessary ones to move the conversation forward. Let us be the ones who show rationale and poise in a contentious debate that is only being fueled by hatred rhetoric. We can have this conversation, but in a thoughtful way.