• Denasia Lawrence sang the national anthem before NBA game in Miami
  • As she sang she knelt, following lead of NFL player Colin Kaepernick 
  • Lawrence sang before the Miami Heat played the Philadelphia 76ers
  • Miami Heat linked arms in a sign of unity before start of the game
  • Kneeling for anthem has become a protest against racial discrimination 

A woman performing the national anthem before an NBA preseason game in Miami on Friday night did so while kneeling at midcourt, and opening her jacket to show a shirt with the phrase ‘Black Lives Matter’.

The singer was identified by the Heat as Denasia Lawrence. It was unclear if she remained in the arena after the performance, and messages left for her were not immediately returned.

Heat players and coaches stood side-by-side for the anthem, all with their arms linked as has been their custom during the preseason.

Many had their heads down as Lawrence sang, and the team released a statement saying it had no advance knowledge that she planned to kneel.

We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus,’ Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.

‘Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue.

‘We’ve had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action.’

The anthem issue has been a major topic in the sports world in recent months, starting with the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to not stand for its playing.

Kaepernick cited racial injustice and police brutality among the reasons for his protest, and athletes from many sports — and many levels, from youth all the way to professional — have followed his lead in various ways.

Darrell Bernard Harrison isn’t a famous writer. He doesn’t go on television to create juicy viral soundbites while arguing with Marc Lamont Hill about racism. Darrell is a black man who loves God and loves his community.  I am posting his comments because it nails it

I read an article a moment ago about a black female who took to one knee while performing the national anthem last night during an NBA game. So, in the spirit of fairness and balance, I thought I’d post a list of issues about which black people will never take a knee:

– the legal murder of more than 17 million unborn black babies since Roe v. Wade in 1973
– the refusal of the federal government to allow parental choice in determining at what school their children should be educated
– the 73 percent rate at which black children are reared in single-parent homes
– the 72 percent out-of-wedlock birth rate of black children
– an increasingly burdensome tax code that forces black parents to work longer hours resulting in less time spent with their children
– a punitive healthcare law that is forcing many black households into bankruptcy because the premiums and penalties are unaffordable
– a double-digit black unemployment rate which is influenced by a liberal immigration policy that encourages and accommodates violating the law under the guise of “fulfilling a dream”
– an increasingly high rate of HIV- infected black men and women in black urban and suburban neighborhoods
– the decades-long impact of liberal policies that have only served to exacerbate poverty and government dependency in urban communities, despite the fact that 95 percent of black voters support the political party that endorses those policies
– the rate at which black people commit violent crimes against other black people

Not trying to start an argument. I’m just sick of the hypocrisy.

Was Golden State Warriors Coach ‘Pastor’ Mark Jackson Fired for His Faith in Christ?

Was Golden State Warriors Coach ‘Pastor’ Mark Jackson Fired for His Faith in Christ?

Mark Jackson Mark Jackson

The Golden State Warriors just inked a five-year deal with former Chicago Bulls champion Steve Kerr, paying him $25 million to bring his basketball smarts. Now, I’m not knocking the three-point thriller, but I have to stop and wonder: What was wrong with coach Mark Jackson?

I mean, why did the NBA team really fire Jackson last week? Was it really his fault that the team was knocked out of the NBA playoffs? He’s the same guy who led the Warriors to consecutive playoff appearances for the first time in 20 years.

“Mark has accomplished many good things during his three years with the organization, including his role in helping elevate this team into a better position than it was when he arrived nearly 36 months ago,” Warriors General Manager Bob Myers said in a statement.

Exactly. So why fire him, then? After all, he took over a team that posted a 26-36 record during the 2010-2011 season and transformed the franchise into a team with 50-plus wins—only the third head coach in the team’s history to accomplish that feat.

“We’re appreciative of his dedication and commitment since his arrival and are extremely grateful for his contributions,” Myers sais. “However, as an organization, we simply feel it’s best to move in a different direction at this time.”

What different direction is that? Away from a leader who is also an ordained Christian minister and names Jesus as Lord?

“I don’t know if Jackson’s strong, strong religious beliefs alienated anyone in the building,” wrote Ann Killion, a sports columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle. “I’ve heard that the team wasn’t happy that he made it a priority to get back to his LA-based church to preach as often as possible.

“I’ve heard that he occasionally referred to individuals he didn’t like as ‘the devil.’ And I found it weird to be sitting in a press conference next to a young woman who kept trying to get Jackson’s attention by calling him ‘pastor.’”

Killion may have heard this or felt weird, but at least most of Jackson’s players didn’t seem to mind his faith. USA Todayrecently reported that on Easter Sunday, “eight of his 15 players made the 18-mile trek from their Beverly Hills hotel, through Los Angeles traffic on the team bus, and to Jackson’s nondenominational church in Van Nuys, Calif., then on to practice at UCLA. A second bus to the practice site had been arranged for those who didn’t want to attend church.”

The article says, “Jackson cited the two buses on Easter Sunday as an example of how he always respects others’ beliefs, and he said players who don’t share his world view need not fear for their playing time or worry about their role on his team. But Jackson clearly sees his spirituality as a way to inspire his co-workers and gets excited when he speaks of having a positive influence on others.”

Killion goes on to point out that team president Rick Welts is openly gay, and she wonders how much friction that may have caused. Hmm. I wonder too. Is that the root of his dismissal?

We may never know, but a very classy Jackson is not singing that tune. In fact, he says the Warriors used his faith for positive public relations.

“I think it’s unfortunate, because if it was true, you don’t encourage media to come do a piece on my church, on my ministry, the work on my faith,” he said in a radio interview with 95.7 The Game. “Don’t do it when it’s convenient and you’re searching for something. I never went around beating people in the head with a Bible.”

Did Jackson have to hit people over the head with his Bible? Or was merely naming Christ as Lord enough to get him fired in a society that’s increasingly intolerant of Christians? Is this one more example of Christian persercution? Or is it sheer coincidence that the coach who turned the team around was just asked to hit the road? And what does mean for other religious coaches, like Doc Rivers? Are they next?

Jennifer LeClaire is news editor at Charisma. She is also the author of several books, including The Making of a Prophet. You can email Jennifer at or visit her website here. You can also join Jennifer on Facebook or follow her on Twitter.