Sheffield Wednesday winger Kadeem Harris on LeBron James, Black Lives Matter and where we go from here

Sheffield Wednesday’s Kadeem Harris has commended the decision taken by LeBron James and other NBA players to take a stand against systemic racism in the US and hopes the progress of the Black Lives Matter movement in recent months can lead to a better future.

Thursday, 27th August 2020, 5:00 pm

On Wednesday six NBA teams scheduled to take the floor in the playoffs boycotted their games in protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

A ‘heated’ meeting held later that evening saw global superstar James lead his LA Lakers in a vote to end the current season altogether, alongside the LA Clippers. The completion of the NBA campaign remains in question.

Last season Harris, a passionate advocate for conversation around the progression of black civil rights, was one of thousands of sportsmen and women around the world to take the knee in acknowledgement of the Black Lives Matter movement as Premier League and Championship sides made their voices heard ahead of every fixture.

Sign up to our Sheffield Wednesday newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Sheffield Wednesday's Kadeem Harris has spoken passionately about the need for progression in the understanding of racism.

And speaking to The Star, the winger said that while he accepts the gesture of taking the knee will stop as the 2020/21 campaign starts, it is the message that must continue.

Asked about the situation in the US, the 27-year-old said: “I've been very impressed with it. Everyone over here made a big effort last season to make a point of what was going on and I know a lot of people have taken to the movement which has been good to see.

“I think moving forward we can all reflect on what people have learned. Going forward we need a lot more togetherness with everyone in the world, not just in sports.

“The knee was always going to stop at some point. That's not the most important thing, it's about what people have learned from this situation.”

Basketball superstar LeBron James has been an ambassador for the Black Lives Matter movement.

Last year Harris opened up on his experience of being racially abused from the sidelines while playing youth football for Wycombe Wanderers. It is one of the only occasions he remembers of facing overt racism in sport, he said, but that in wider society it’s something that can sometimes be a reality of life.

That said, the lightning quick winger prefers to look forward, not back, and to what he believes can be a more cohesive future as the education around racism continues.

“There are many situations where I've felt hard done by in the past, but that's the past,” he said. “It’s nothing I really want to drag on about going forward.

"All that's done now and if we can all learn from these things and stick together now the world can be a better place. I'm hoping that does happen.

“A lot of people are maybe not as conscious – and I don't want to say the word racist because some people might say things and do things that might come across like that, when they’re not at all – but it's important that people have learned from this situation, that people are taking the time out to educate themselves.

“I'm hoping that they have and that there’s a lot more togetherness going forward. The world can be a much better place.”

MORE FROM OUR WEDNESDAY WRITING TEAM

Thank you to all who support local journalism with a digital or print subscription to The Star. The events of 2020 mean trusted, local journalism is more reliant than ever on your support. We couldn't do it without you. Subscribe here www.thestar.co.uk/subscriptions so we can keep campaigning on your behalf. Stay safe.