Heat’s Meyers Leonard Stands For Anthem: “My Patriotism Runs Deep”

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Meyers Leonard explains his decision to stand during the National Anthem.

Miami Heat center Meyers Leonard did not join his teammates in protesting during the National Anthem, before Saturday’s game against the Denver Nuggets. Leonard says he supports Black Lives Matter, but “can be both.”

Meyers Leonard, National Anthem, StandKevin C. Cox / Getty Images

“I think I can be a beacon of light … not only for my voice or platform and action, but in everything I’m doing,” Leonard told ESPN’s Marc J. Spears. “I certainly support Black Lives Matter. … I am very aware of what is going on. But I can be both. My patriotism runs deep.”

Leonard, who is white, joins Orlando’s Jonathan Isaac, who was the first player to stand during the anthem in the bubble.

“I haven’t slept. I’m a zombie right now. It’s been difficult because the truth of the matter is I have a loving heart, very compassionate and I’m very aware of what is happening in America today and what has been going on for many years,” Leonard told Spears. “I [was] aware some of the backlash that could happen. I understand. However, I believe in my heart that I did the right thing. Our world right now is black and white. There is a line in the sand, and it says if I don’t kneel, then I’m not with Black Lives Matter. That is not true.”

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