At an NBA preseason game on Friday, a singer recruited by the Miami Heat unbuttoned her blazer to reveal a Black Lives Matter shirt and kneeled at center court while singing the national anthem.
Denasia Lawrence, a social worker, was invited by the Miami Heat organization to sign the anthem before the Miami Heat hosted the Philadelphia 76ers. The Miami Heat issued a brief statement after the anthem protest, saying, “We were unaware of it ahead of time.”
Watch her sing the anthem:
This echoes the protest method used by Colin Kaepernick of the San Francisco 49ers, who kneels on the sidelines during the singing of the national anthem before each football game. Another anthem singer, Leah Tysse, kneeled at the end of her rendition at a Sacramento Kings game in early October.
The NBA has a rule that requires all players and coaches to stand for the national anthem. The NFL has no such rule, but a petition with over 12,000 signatures aims to make the league require all players to stand.
Lawrence posted a video to her Facebook page with a written explanation as to why she kneeled. Commenters were quick to call out what they see as opportunism. She could have protested by declining to sing the anthem, thus allowing the Miami Heat to find another singer who would perform the anthem with respect.
Another anthem singer has used the platform to add additional patriotism and artistry: Before an Ohio hockey game, artist Joe Everson sang the anthem while simultaneously painting an image of soldiers raising the American flag.
Joe Everson puts Denasia Lawrence, Colin Kaepernick, the NFL, and the NBA to shame.
Share if you support Joe Everson and love his respect for the National Anthem!