[The Athletic] - It sucks. It sucks, man. It’s terrible timing. But that’s been 2020 for us,” VanVleet said. “We all know the right thing to do is to not play, to take a stand. Morally, yes, that makes sense. But life goes on. We’re all young, Black guys. None of us want to give any money (from their salaries) back. I don’t think that we should. I think that money can be used in a number of different ways. This is not going to end this summer regardless, or over the next couple of months. This issue, racial injustice, social injustice, police brutality, all these things are not ending anytime soon. Our fight is long term. That was part of my decision. But if the league, or more of my guys would have come together and said we didn’t want to play, I would have sat out as well. I wouldn’t have even fought it. I think most of us decided to play. It’s something we’ll have to live with. I trust that my heart’s in the right place and I’m doing enough to make change.”
This is by far the best quote I've seen from an NBA player regarding the back and forth they are having between playing in Orlando and taking a stand. Fred VanVleet puts it perfectly for people struggling to understand where maybe they are coming from if they wanted to sit out. And he's right. They shouldn't have to give their salaries back, have that all be donated to a charity.
It also just shows that money pays here. VanVleet sort of admits that with the admission of not wanting to give a salary back. He also acknowledges that the fight for Black Lives Matter is a long term, it's not just solved this summer. But I'm curious to see if this quote holds more weight as we get closer to the restart. We're seeing guys test positive for coronavirus and more guys sitting out because of that. We've seen a couple guys announce they are sitting out for a fear of injury.
We haven't seen anyone announce they are going to sit out for taking a stand. But the moment the first person does, there will be multiple. That's sort of more what VanVleet is saying. He's not going full Kyrie and going completely extreme. He's just admitting that if there was a group that came together and came out with a statement he would do it.
Shout out Fred VanVleet, man. The dude is a great story. From being underrecruited to turning into arguably Wichita State's best player to making it as an undrafted player to becoming one of the best bench players in the league.