J.R. Smith drew the attention of the media earlier this week, when one day after locking arms with his Cavaliers teammates, the Cleveland guard stood back some feet to distance himself from those participating in the pre-game National Anthem ceremony. On Friday, October 6, a reporter thought to ask what the misalignment was all about, and Smith offered a response in which he confessed that he doesn't relate to the American flag in the same way that many others do.
'It"s not an easy situation for me with the national anthem. Especially coming from where I come from, it"s just not," said Smith. "I don"t feel like it"s represented the right way, obviously it"s a tough conversation for everybody, and it still needs to be, I wouldn"t say talked about, because there"s been a lot of conversations about it, it"s time to start doing. What efforts are we going to put towards it?'
Last week, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver reminded players of its policy concerning the Star Spangled Banner. In a memo sent out to each of the league's 30 teams, Silver warned that rules stipulate that all must stand before the flag. During Friday's interview, Smith claimed that it has been more than two years since he's come out on the floor for the ceremony. Instead, he says that he remains in the locker room or tunnel readying for the game.
Although he hadn't given a formal statement sharing his stance on the National Anthem protests, Smith did raise eyebrows when following Silver's release of the memo, he retweeted the document with a caption that read, "Yea ight."