As American as Refusing to Stand for the National Anthem

Late last year, George Gittens, who goes by Dr. Natural, got a call from Nessa Diab, the host of Hot 97’s afternoon show. Dr. Natural is a holistic-health advocate in Brooklyn who has long dreadlocks­ and maintains a raw, vegan, alkaline diet. Diab was hoping Dr. Natural would speak at an event she was putting on with her boyfriend, a professional football player. “I said, ‘Cup-ernick?’ ” Dr. Natural said recently. “ ‘Who’s Cup-ernick?’ ” Diab clarified that her boyfriend was the San Francisco 49er who had knelt during the national anthem to protest racial injustice and police brutality in America, causing dozens of other athletes to join him in solidarity and then-candidate Trump to suggest he find another country. “I didn’t know his name,” Dr. Natural said. “I just knew him as the guy who took a knee.”  

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Jess Heeps-Eriksen