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Bill Russell Takes Knee With Presidential Medal of Freedom

Celtics legend Bill Russell shown in photo taking knee with Presidential Medal of Freedom

A picture surfaced on social media showing Boston Celtics legend and Basketball Hall of Famer Bill Russell kneeling while wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom.

The tweet was posted Monday afternoon with Russell kneeling and appears to be backing professional athletes that chose to take a knee before the playing of the national anthem in response to President Donald Trump criticizing players who did not stand for the anthem.

The Twitter account the picture came from is not verified and has been fairly inactive since it was created in early September.

The picture came with the caption "Proud to take a knee, and to stand tall against social injustice, with the hashtags #takeaknee #medaloffreedom #NFL #BillRussell #MSNBC.

Around Russell's neck is the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian award presented in the United States. Russell received the award in 2011.

The 83-year-old Russell, who was an 11–time World Champion and five–time NBA MVP as a player with the Celtics, was among the many African-American athletes who stood with Muhammad Ali after he refused induction into the U.S. Army.