Former NBA commissioner David Stern was a guest on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast, where he attempted to take a jab at the NFL by arguing that if Colin Kaepernick had been a basketball player, his protest against police brutality and social injustice would not have cost him his job.
Stern, who foisted a strict dress code upon the NBA’s players while he was commissioner, first argued that he went out of his way to “promote our players and show that they were real people.” Then he got to what should have been done with Kaepernick:
Stern said that Kaepernick should have been suspended by the NFL when he first began kneeling, and if he had been, his career would have been able to continue.
Stern has some experience in this area. When former Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf sat for the national anthem during the 1995-96 season, Stern suspended him for one game and fined him $32,000. Stern allowed Abdul-Rauf to return to action, but only after he agreed that he would go back to standing for the anthem while bowing his head in silent prayer.
As for Stern’s claim that Kaepernick would still have a job if his situation had been handled in the same way, Abdul-Rauf’s own career arc offers evidence to the contrary. He was Denver’s leading scorer during the 1995-96 season, but was traded to Sacramento that summer. Two years later, at age 29, he was out of the NBA.
Leave it to David Stern to take a swing at a target as soft as the NFL and somehow come out looking like an asshole.