Posted 11 days ago
Prior to the NBA’s restart on Thursday, TNT analyst Charles Barkley spoke his mind about players and coaches kneeling for the national anthem.
As expected, players from both the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, as well as coaches and referees, all took a knee in unison during a taped rendition of the “Star-Spangled Banner”, and once it was over, the television broadcast went back to the "Inside the NBA" pregame show.
Barkley said it was okay if players decided not to kneel as well.
“The thing is, the national anthem means different things to different people,” Barkley said. "I'm glad these guys are all unified, but if people don't kneel, they're not a bad person. I want to make that perfectly clear."
“I'm glad they had unity, but if we have a guy that doesn't want to kneel or the anthem means something to him, he should not be vilified,” Barkley added.
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," Silver told reporters Thursday.
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