In case you missed it in all the hubbub this week (or just never received your newspaper, as has happened to a lot of folks), one of the most encouraging North Carolina political stories emanated from the world of sports.
As Raleigh’s News & Observer reported Wednesday, UNC basketball coach Roy Williams has had some important insights in recent days regarding the National Anthem controversy that has swept the nation in recent months. Here’s reporter Andrew Carter:
When North Carolina coach Roy Williams first heard about Colin Kaepernick’s protest of the national anthem, Williams reacted the way a lot of Kaepernick’s critics have reacted.
“At first, it made me very angry,” Williams said on Tuesday during UNC’s annual preseason media day. “The guy’s making $19 million – what do you have to say against our country?”
That was Williams’ first reaction. Then, he said, he learned more about Kaepernick’s motivation. Williams said he “listened better” to the message that Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback who has inspired a nationwide dialogue, was trying to deliver.
Amid a long, sordid string of police violence against black men, Kaepernick began protesting the national anthem during the NFL’s preseason. He has knelt, instead of stood, while the anthem has played before games, and other NFL and college players have since joined in solidarity with their own anthem protests.
“He wasn’t saying this was a bad country,” Williams said. “He said we’ve got not just one particular problem, but one particular problem he was taking a stance on, and I think he’s correct. So I told that to the team.”
If only Gov. McCrory and some of the troubled souls at ECU who’ve been beating up on courageous band members were so open-minded and thoughtful.