SALT LAKE CITY -- Like many others that have long followed the NFL, Stephen Curry has developed mixed feelings about the most profitable sports league in America.
His love for the Carolina Panthers remains; his respect for them surely increased three weeks ago when they signed safety Eric Reid, who spent the offseason as a pariah, undoubtedly related to his relationship with exiled quarterback Colin Kaepernick and their high-profile demonstrations against social injustice.
But the Panthers are a part of the NFL, and that creates a predicament for Curry and a growing number of others, including celebrities and athletic figures.
"A lot of football fans are in a tough space," the Warriors superstar Curry told NBC Sports Bay Area on Friday.
The crusade of Kaepernick and Reid - both of whom knelt during the national anthem - engaged President Donald Trump, resulting in a political firestorm, with one side branding the two players as unpatriotic and the other considering social justice a cause worth pursuing.
It was revealed Thursday that pop superstar Rihanna declined an invitation to be the halftime performer of the Super Bowl next February, reportedly out of solidarity with Kaepernick, who began protesting racial and ethnic inequality in 2016.
Others who have shown support for Kaepernick and Reid include LeBron James, Serena Williams, Odell Beckham Jr., musicians John Legend, Zendaya and J. Cole, actress Susan Sarandon and X-Files co-stars Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny.
David West, a former teammate of Curry with the Warriors, is aware of the Reid signing but isn't going to games and doesn't watch them on TV.
Curry is somewhat appeased by seeing the Panthers sign Reid. The move was authorized by the team's new owner, David Tepper, who has donated to Republican politicians but also been outspoken in his criticisms of President Donald Trump.
"Dave Tepper is making a statement that he's aware of what's going on but understands there's a way for a player like that, with a voice and a stance, to be a part of the organization," Curry said.
"He signed him, and you notice (Reid) started the first game. That answers the nonsense around trying to ban players from being a part of the NFL if they want to speak out on something.
"It says a lot about his ownership. I'm definitely happy it was my team."