Cleveland Cavalier Dion Waiters Will Skip National Anthems Because He’s A Muslim (Or Maybe He Won’t)

There’s a controversy brewing in Cleveland over Cavaliers bench-warmer Dion Waiters, and his noticeable absence from the pregame National Anthem ceremonies at Wednesday’s game against the Utah Jazz. The absence may or may not have anything to do with him being a Muslim.

The controversy began Wednesday night, according to Cleveland Plain Dealer sports writer Chris Haynes, when Waiters was absent during the National Anthem and announcement of the starting lineups. Indeed, Waiters didn’t show up at all until a “couple seconds” before the opening tipoff.

Folks started to speculate if he was injured, disgruntled, or if this was his way of rebelling?

Well, as it turns out, Dion Waiters skipped the National Anthem because of his religious beliefs. He’s a Muslim.

It’s because of my religion. That’s why I stayed in the locker room.”

Whether skipping the National Anthem of the United States of America has anything to do with the religion of Islam is a matter of debate, but that’s Dion’s story and he’s sticking to it. Or at least, he did until the next Cavs game on Friday against the Denver Nuggets, where he did stand with his teammates for the National Anthem. Chris Haynes questioned Waiters’ sincerity, writing: “Maybe he’s selective with it.”

After the game, Haynes tried to talk to Dion to get some further information about how his faith in Islam keeps him from standing for the National Anthem, but Waiters wasn’t having any of it.

I don’t really want to talk about that, my religion. I don’t really want to talk about that. I want to talk about basketball.”

And that should have been the end of it. And it would have been, but for the fact that Dion Waiters has now said that Haynes’ report on why he missed the National Anthem is a lie, according to Deadspin.

Waiters took to Twitter to give his side of the story. Incidentally, his Twitter rant doesn’t seem to have made things any clearer.

Lol I wasn’t going to even say anything about the situation but whoever made that up about me & the national anthem is a damn lie….

— Dionwaiters3 (@dionwaiters3) November 8, 2014

I can’t believe yall believe everything yall hear smh I guess ppl listen to anything now a days!!! I love everything about America!!!!!!! — Dionwaiters3 (@dionwaiters3) November 8, 2014

I’m not here to entertain nobody but come on now I’m always out there for the national anthem if they gone write BS make sure it’s correct.

— Dionwaiters3 (@dionwaiters3) November 8, 2014

I’m logging back off but the media need something to tlk about smh I just had to address the problem… Dnt believe that BS!!! ✌️ — Dionwaiters3 (@dionwaiters3) November 8, 2014

Whether Dion Waiters’ purported commitment to skipping the National Anthem because of his Muslim faith will hold has yet to be seen; you can find out for certain on Monday night by watching the Cavs’ play the New Orleans Pelicans.

[Image courtesy of: Bleacher Report]