Photo via: NBA
Ahead of Monday night football, a tweeted photo of Boston Celtics legend Bill Russell taking a knee while wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom started circulating on social media. Russell shared the photo along with the caption: “Proud to take a knee, and to stand tall against social injustice, #takeaknee #medaloffreedom #NFL #BillRussell #MSNBC.”
— TheBillRussell (@BillRus73270016) September 25, 2017
According to Bleacher Report’s senior NBA writer, Howard Beck, Russell’s new Twitter account has since been verified by the NBA.
The 83-year-old is no stranger to protesting against social injustice as he has a long-time history of using his platform to do so. During a ceremony where Russell was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Barack Obama in 2011, Obama stated:
“Bill Russell the man is someone who has stood up for the rights and dignity of all men. He marched with King. He stood by Ali. When a restaurant refused to serve the Black Celtics, he refused to play in the scheduled game. He endured insults and vandalism but he kept on focusing on making the teammates who he loved better players, and made possible the success of so many who would fall. I hope that one day in the streets of Boston that children will look up to a statue built not only of Bill Russell the player, but of Bill Russell the man.”
Photo credit: Kevin Dietsch/UPI
Russell “stood with Ali” at a 1967 summit, where top Black athletes, such as Jim Brown and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, supported Ali’s decision to protest against racism and war by refusing to be drafted into the U.S. Army.
Photo via: AP Images
With an unwavering commitment to social justice, Russell became an 11-time NBA champion, the first Black NBA coach, and a civil rights hero who continues to inspire present-day athlete activists.
Mr. Russell, we salute you!