Damian Lillard isn’t trying to hear the reflexive “stick to sports” rhetoric from those who don’t want pro athletes to speak out.

Lillard thinks of the attempted silencing of athletes as having the echoes of slavery.

Dame finds president Donald Trump’s ongoing criticisms of protesting NFL players “unfortunate.”

Per Willamette Week (via Oregon Public Broadcasting):

Lillard said it was “very saddening” and likened the response of people who say things like “you should be grateful” to slavery.

 

“Looking at it now, how they just want us to go out and play basketball and you know, ‘put that jersey on and be proud’ and ‘don’t represent anything,’ ‘don’t stand for anything,’ ‘don’t have an opinion, just be respectful’ and ‘go out there and play for me’—it makes me think about kind of the way it was with slavery, when it was, they want the young, strong and you know, ‘His arms are long and he’s got big calves.’ It reminds me of that,” Lillard told OPB.

 

“They want us to go out and do what we’re built to do. We’re good athletes; we’re physically strong; we’re very capable…They don’t want to know what we think; they don’t care how we feel about something. It’s just ‘Go out there and do what your job is.'”