In 2016, Randy Orton tweeted “All Lives Matter” quite a few times. However, he has since educated himself and has admitted that it took him a while to understand the Black Lives Matter movement.
In a recent interview with CBS Sports, the former WWE Champion had the following to say about the movement and his change in opinion:
“When Kaepernick was kneeling, I looked at it as disrespecting the American flag and that he was disrespecting the servicemen and women who fight for our freedom and our free speech and come home in a coffin when they give the ultimate sacrifice. That coffin draped in an American flag. I think I went on Booker T’s radio show and even said those things and I believed them.
“It took me a little time, but what I had to do was realize, Kaepernick, he wasn’t s***ting on the flag. He wasn’t disrespecting the people that have given their lives for our freedom. He was taking a stand against police brutality. As a white guy, I don’t see it. But then I started listening to my black brothers and sisters, especially the ones I’ve known for years and some for more than a decade. I was hearing first-hand accounts of interactions with cops that took advantage of the situation and the power they had because they maybe felt a certain way about the color of someone’s skin. That’s when the lightbulb went off.
“I’m embarrassed to say it, but it took me a little while but I get it. What I said on Twitter, I stand behind. If anyone doesn’t agree with me, I think they need to do more digging. Go look at Big E’s Twitter from a week ago, go look at Xavier Woods’ Twitter, go look at things Kofi said, that Mark Henry said, that Shelton said, that R-Truth said. If you read what they’re saying and try to put yourself in their shoes for even just a minute, you’re going to see right now that it’s not fair. All lives do matter, but like I said on Twitter, until black lives matter, all lives can’t matter. My only regret is that it took me a little bit and some soul searching to see that.
Orton has applauded for realising the error of his ways, educating himself, and becoming a better person for it.
While speaking to The Sports Bubble, current SmackDown Tag Team Champion Big E opened up about Orton’s change in mindset regarding the movement:
“Randy will admit, like he doesn’t have the squeaky clean past, like he’s definitely, you know, made some mistakes in the past. And that’s not to absolve him of anything he’s done, but like you said, he’s had this really conservative viewpoint. It’s not for me to try to make him a liberal or anything, but I think it’s something that he’s had close black friends, and I consider Randy a friend, and we’ve had some of conversations at work.
“I think over the course of the last few years, even. And I think he’s finally starting to get it, you know? And like you said, that is I think as impactful as it can be to see a black athlete or black entertainers speak up about these things. I think it can be really impactful as well to see someone like Randy, who’s had these conservative views who in the past would never speak up to say anything like this to really, you know, I thought he did a really good job with what he posted and to offer that kind of support.”
Big E recently spoke about Vince McMahon’s reaction to New Day taking the knee during a SmackDown segment recently. You can read more about that by clicking here.