Posted 11 days ago
The NBA is finally back -- and ahead of the first game of the league's restart, players from both teams joined coaches and referees to kneel during the national anthem.
The league had to shift to a bubble format in Orlando, Fla., due to the coronavirus pandemic, and in the aftermath of the nationwide protests, following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, players have focused on social justice, as well as the Black Lives Matter movement.
Players from the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, as well as the game’s referees, made a statement on Thursday prior to tip-off. During a pre-recorded version of the national anthem, everyone on the court took a knee, while some players locked arms, and others raised their fists in the air.
Both the Pelicans and Jazz released statements on the matter.
"The New Orleans Pelicans stand by the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest. Collectively with the Utah Jazz, our organization joins the NBA in supporting our players and coaches," the Pelicans wrote.
The Jazz added: "The Utah Jazz are committed to advancing social justice and stand in support of the players, coaches and staff as they exercise their First Amendment rights, use their voices, their experiences, and their platforms to peacefully express themselves."
The NBA has had a rule going back to the early 1980s that players must stand for the national anthem. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, anticipating that players would kneel during these games at Walt Disney World, has made clear that he supported peaceful protests.
"I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem," Si... (Read more)