Rockets guard James Harden says masks not a political assertion

Houston Rockets guard James Harden stated he didn’t intend to make a political assertion by sporting a “Skinny Blue Line” masks Thursday and that he was unaware of what the masks represented.

The Skinny Blue Line – the American flag with a blue line as one of many stripes – reveals assist for regulation enforcement. That flag, in addition to the Punisher cranium that was on Harden’s masks, are generally seen as symbols which are in opposition to the Black Lives Matter motion.

Pictures of Harden sporting the masks, a neck gaiter pulled over his face, revealed by the Rockets’ and NBA’s social media accounts provoked robust reactions from individuals on either side of the difficulty.

“Truthfully, I wasn’t attempting to make a political assertion,” Harden stated earlier than the Rockets’ observe Friday. “I actually wore it simply because it coated my complete face and my beard. It is fairly easy.”

Thursday was Harden’s first day working towards with the Rockets on the NBA’s Walt Disney World campus after arriving 5 days after the group’s flight. Harden stated he was contemplating ways in which he may voice his assist for the Black Lives Matter motion throughout the season’s restart, together with whether or not he would have a social justice message on the again of his jersey. He reiterated that on Friday.

“I am within the means of doing that proper now,” Harden stated. With reference to police, Harden stated, “There’s individuals who do their job at a excessive degree and there is BS individuals in each occupation.”

On Thursday, Harden expressed pleasure about Houston’s response to the loss of life of George Floyd by the hands of Minneapolis police, which led to protests all through the world. Floyd’s funeral was in Houston, town the place he grew up.

“The way in which town simply, like, rallied, it was superb,” Harden stated Thursday. “I feel the world noticed it, how so many individuals may come collectively so shut. Clearly, it was for a tragic purpose, however the marching and all the things we’re standing for may be very highly effective.”

After ending that digital information convention, Harden placed on the Skinny Blue Line masks, unaware of what it represented, he stated.

“It was simply one thing that coated my complete beard,” Harden stated. “I assumed it regarded cool. That was it.”

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