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NBA Washington Wizards

Washington Wizards F Kevin Seraphin Right For Wearing ‘I am Charlie’ T-Shirt

Washington Wizards center Kevin Seraphin wears a t-shirt honoring victims of the Charlie Hobdo terrorist attack in Paris during warm ups prior to the Wizards game against the Chicago Bulls at Verizon Center. The Wizards won 102-86. Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Geoff Burke-USA Today Sports

We are with you on this one Kevin! Washington Wizards forward Kevin Seraphin has joined the outpouring of grief around the world concerning this week’s horrific terrorist attacks in Paris.

Seraphin donned a t-shirt bearing the French words “Je Suis Charlie” translating to “I am Charlie” in warmups before the Wizards defeated the Chicago Bulls 102-86 on Friday at the Verizon Center. The phrase has become a popular symbol of solidarity for the victims at  Charlie Hebdo newspaper, where 12 people were killed in Wednesday’s terrorist attack.

Sports and politics don’t usually mix and often times such messages are frowned upon or create a negative reaction. But in this case, few could pose any kind of a legitimate argument against Seraphin’s tribute to his dead countrymen.

Seraphin, who has played for France’s national team but was born in French Guiana, was given a show of support for his unofficial warmup gear by Bulls opponent Joakim Noah for his apparel. “I’m happy he did that,” Noah told ESPN. “[France] is going through some tough times right now and he honored the people.”

Nicolas Batum of the Portland Trail Blazers also wore a t-shirt bearing the same phrase in Thursday’s game against the Miami Heat.

It’s not the first time political messages have made it onto the court in the NBA this season. LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers wore a t-shirt with the words “I can’t breath” on December 8 during his pregame warmups against the Brooklyn Nets. The slogan was the last word’s of Eric Garner, who died during an arrest by the New York police earlier in 2014.

But Sometimes political statements can go to far and do more harm than good . The St. Louis Rams recently realized after their ‘Hands Up Don’t Shoot’ as their protest (well meaning or not) over the Michael Brown shooting backfired and actually led to a backlash from NFL fans.

But the t-shirts worn by both Seraphin and James do not create the same divisions in the United States, and have done more to draw people together in this latest tragedy. Seraphin’s t-shirt was clearly meant to be a sombre memorial to the dead and nothing more than that. He should be congratulated for his thoughtful tribute.

Peter Mallett is a blogger for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @RedCardTheRef1 like him on Facebook or add him to your network on Google.