NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal Once Criticized 49ers Darling Colin Kaepernick on Live TV

Published 05/07/2022, 10:00 AM EDT

Back in 2016, when Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem, he shook the sports world. That was the first time an athlete in the NFL kneeled in protest. While he gained tons of praise for taking a stand, he was still criticized for disrespecting the national anthem. One of his critics was NBA Legend Shaquille O’Neal.

Shaq’s father was in the military and his uncle was in law enforcement. He grew up in a military school and he has always stated his love for his country and the uniform. So when Colin kneeled down, he did not appreciate it. Even back in the day, when one of his teammates did the same thing, he did not stand with him.

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Shaquille O’Neal bashes former NFL star Colin Kaepernick

Shaq was asked what he thought about the entire incident. He said even though he understood what Colin did, he would have done it differently. He said,” I have nothing bad to say about the guy, but if I was making a stand, I probably would have got about 500 top athletes, set up a press conference, invite everybody to say something and come out on TV,”

Shaq says Colin wasn’t the first person to protest. He says his former LSU teammate did the same, and he called him out for his actions. Shaq adds, “I called him and said, ‘Hey, bro, you don’t want to be standing for the anthem, just stay in the back, you know? ’Cause you’re starting to offend some people, “I was like, ‘Look, man, that’s tripping. Stay in the tunnel. Don’t come out.’”

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Shaq’s teammate was former Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf. Rauf was protesting against racism and oppression in 1996. He was fined by the league and eventually came into an agreement where he could stand and pray with his head down during the anthem.

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Shaq has been active in presenting his views, and he is not shy to call people out. And this time it was Colin who ignited a revolution among athletes. Even though Shaq may not have agreed with him, he understood his actions and respected him for standing up to his beliefs.

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Vishwesha Kumar

589 articles

Vishwesha Kumar is an NBA writer at EssentiallySports. Holder of a Bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering, Vishwesha has been writing content for about 3 years now. He has been following the NBA for nearly 10 years, since first starting off in the year 2012.

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