Dion Waiters clarifies remarks, says he has no issue with national anthem

Dion Waiters does not wish to join his teammates for the national anthem. (Getty)
Dion Waiters says he won’t be skipping the anthem. (Getty Images)

On Friday night, minutes before tipoff of the Cleveland Cavaliers game against the Denver Nuggets, a story broke that Dion Waiters had revealed that he planned to skip the national anthem on account of his Muslim faith.

After the game, Waiters told reporters he wouldn’t discuss the matter, saying “that’s my religion, and I don’t have to talk about that; I just want to talk basketball.” He didn’t confirm or deny anything. He chose not to answer, and the scrum ended immediately after. Then later, Waiters tweeted about the event, saying:

Then things got weirder. Here was the update from the original reporter on Saturday:

I never recalled Dion missing a national anthem performance before, but he did mention he is rededicating himself to his religion. I then asked if he planned to continue this pre-game ritual the remainder of the season, and he replied, “Yes, I do.”

Thus, the story was born.

Dion and I had a long conversation on Saturday and we came to the realization that we were thinking two different things.

When I asked if he planned to continue his pregame ritual, I meant did he plan on skipping the national anthem from here on out. He said he was under the impression that I was asking if he would continue his prayer and meditation before games.

Fair enough.

Waiters reiterated that he would be present during the national anthem. He called it a “simple miscommunication” and added that he’s looking forward to moving past this situation.

via Cleveland Cavaliers guard Dion Waiters clarifies remarks regarding his pregame ritual | cleveland.com.

Then Sunday, reporters after practice spoke with Waiters and followed up. He was adamant that he’s not missing the anthem in the future and that he loves his country.

Question: Do you want to explain what has happened the last 48 hours or so?

Waiters: It was a big miscommunication part, misunderstanding. Like I said, I love my country, I love the United States of America. I’d rather be here than anyplace else. It was a big misunderstanding on both parts.

via Transcript: Dion Waiters meets with media to discuss recent comments – Cleveland Cavaliers – Ohio.

Waiters went on to deny saying he missed the anthem Wednesday because of religious reasons, saying “I love the United States of America” two more times and continuing to chalk the matter up to a misunderstanding.

Outrage over the original interpretation of Waiters’ intent wasn’t significant, and it appears to have just been a miscommunication. So after a long, drawn out, and confusing miniature saga, it appears Waiters and the media are moving on.