Harden and his controversial mask

Harden put on The Blue Patriot mask without realizing what it represented. "It was something that covered all my beard," he explained.


James Harden, Rockets star, became the center of attention and controversy in the Orlando bubble since Thursday, where he is preparing with the team for the return to competition. But the reason for that prominence has nothing to do with the sports section but with its protective mask, related to a certain political symbolism, an aspect that this Friday has denied to journalists. Harden noted that he did not intend to make a political statement by wearing that mask and was not aware of what it represented. The protection drawing is made up of a skull and a black and white flag of the United States crossed by a blue line. The skull is the symbol of The Punisher, a very violent character from the Marvel comics that the police have adopted as an unofficial icon. On the other hand, the blue line, 'Thin Blue Line', is often used in support of the police. The mask is available online and is called 'The Blue Patriot'. This iconography is often seen as contrary to the Black Lives Matter movement.

The photographs of Harden wearing the mask, with a gaiter around his face, published by the social networks of the Rockets and the NBA, provoked strong reactions from people on both sides of how they value the issue at a time of so much social tension. that is lived throughout the country.

"I was honestly not trying to make a political statement," Harden said before attending the Rockets' training this Friday: "Honestly, I only used it because it covered my entire face and beard. It's pretty simple." Thursday was the first day that the player fully trained with his team after arriving five days after his teammates.

Harden had explained that he was considering ways to express his support for the Black Lives Matter movement during the season restart, including whether he would have a social justice message on the back of his shirt. And yesterday he reiterated that position: "I am in the process of doing it now. They are commitments that you must be very clear about and with which you must respect everyone."

Regarding the police, the NBA star noted that "there are people who do their work with the highest level of commitment and ethics, while there are also people who do not do it in all professions."

Harden on Thursday expressed his pride at Houston's reaction to the death of black citizen George Floyd, who died on May 25 while in custody of the Minneapolis police, which sparked protests around the world. Floyd's funeral took place in Houston, the city where he grew up. "The way the city reacted was incredible," said the player: "I think the world saw it, how many people could come together for the same cause, regardless of any conditions. Obviously, it was for a tragic reason, but the march and everything we stand for is very powerful. "

After finishing that press conference, Harden put on the mask of controversy, without realizing what he represented, reiterated this Friday. "It was something that covered my entire beard," explained Harden: "I thought it was great, that was it."However, the controversy is well served and the Rockets coach, Mike D'Antoni, said that not only did he believe in everything said by his star but that within the team he also had the support so that no matter other than the sport affects the good preparation they are doing, while they wait for the arrival of the base Russell Westbrook, who is recovering in Houston from the contagion to COVID-19.

Photos from as.com
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