The Houston Rockets posted a photo to its social media accounts Thursday of star player James Harden wearing a "thin blue line" mask, and the reaction was swift.
"Mask Up," reads the photo caption.
The "thin blue line" flag is a sign of support for law enforcement that has amid Black Lives Matter protests come to signal opposition to the racial justice movement and support for white supremacy. The phrase can be traced back to an 1854 British battle formation, a “thin red line,” during the Crimean War, according to The Marshall Project.
Harden said Friday that he was not trying to make a political statement and he was unaware of what the mask represented.