Have NBA players planning to kneel during the national anthem to in support of the fight for racial equality been discouraged from doing so with a recent memo shared by Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum?
In a memo sent Friday, Tatum suggested players and coaches address issues during opening games to “demonstrate your commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community.” He added that issues should be addressed before the national anthem.
The memo echos Commissioner Adam Silver’s recent statement that his expectation is that players will continue to stand during the national, anthem as they have done during previous seasons, in accordance with the current rule in place requiring that they do so. “Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem,” Silva said during a recent press conference. I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now.”
“It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem,” he added.
While the memo did not explicitly state that players would face consequences for not standing, it did mention that individual teams do not have the discrection to wave the rule, and that the league would determine how to deal with any player who decides not to stand when or if that instance occurs.
However, players have found other ways to take a stand. During their game against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Los Angeles Lakers locked arms during the national anthem.
The players join a long list of athletes who’ve protested during the national anthem.