(WHDH) — A photo that shows Boston Celtics and NBA legend Bill Russell on one knee wearing the Presidential Medal of Freedom surfaced on Twitter Monday. Russell’s apparent gesture of solidarity comes just days after President Donald Trump’s comments, which called for NFL owners to fire any player who protests the national anthem.
In the tweet, Russell said that he was “proud to take a knee, and to stand tall against social injustice.” Russell was the first African American player to achieve superstar status in the NBA. He won 11 world championships with Boston.
The photo appeared on an unverified Twitter account that has no avatar.
Russell is seen the photo looking directly into the camera with a stern look on his face and the Presidential Medal of Freedom dangling around his neck. President Barack Obama awarded him with the medal in 2011. The medal represents the highest honor possible for a civilian.
Players, owners and coaches across the NFL on Sunday either took a knee or locked arms in solidarity, coming together as one, after Trump said that any “son of a bitch” who “disrespects our flag” should be fired by their owner.
Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and safety Devin McCourty were two of many to speak about the situation on Monday.
“I think everyone has a right to do whatever they want to do and if you don’t agree, you can have a disagreement,” said Brady in an interview.
“We’re all in the NFL, we all represent the NFL. I think one thing that is unique about the NFL is if somebody steps in and tries to bash the NFL or divide the NFL, I think then everyone should view that as a problem,” McCourty said.