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Abdul-Jabbar defends police brutality protests: Racism is 'everywhere'

Gabriel Olsen / Getty Images Entertainment / Getty

Hall of Famer Kareem Abdul-Jabbar defended nationwide protests against police brutality and the killing of George Floyd in an op-ed Saturday for the Los Angeles Times.

"Yes, protests often are used as an excuse for some to take advantage, just as when fans celebrating a hometown sports team championship burn cars and destroy storefronts," Abdul-Jabbar wrote. "I don't want to see stores looted or even buildings burn. But African-Americans have been living in a burning building for many years, choking on the smoke as the flames burn closer and closer.

"Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible - even if you're choking on it - until you let the sun in. Then you see it's everywhere."

Abdul-Jabbar has been an outspoken activist since starring for UCLA during the mid-to-late '60s.

In 2017, the former Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks center called out President Donald Trump for his travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries.

On Saturday, Abdul-Jabbar once again invoked Trump's name while defending the protesters and speaking about the fear black people live with when doing everyday activities like going for a jog or a drive.

"What you should see when you see black protesters in the age of Trump and (the) coronavirus is people pushed to the edge, not because they want bars and nail salons open, but because they want to live. To breathe," Abdul-Jabbar wrote.

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