Every player, coach and referee on the court for the National Basketball Association’s restart tonight took a knee during the national anthem.
The move included locking arms together. Players of both teams — the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans — wore “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts during warmups, and the same message was emblazoned on the court in Orlando, where the NBA’s complete schedule will be played. Several players also had league-approved social justice messages on their jerseys where their names usually appear, including “Say Her Name,” “Equality,” “Listen to Us” and “I Am a Man.” Watch a clip below.
“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 said.
Numerous NBA players have spoken about social justice issues since starting training in the Orlando “bubble” that houses all the teams.
The mother of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville woman who was shot dead by police during a botched drug raid, held a virtual meeting with nearly 40 players, according to ESPN. She was made an honorary member of all 22 teams participating in Orlando, NBC Sports reported.
CBS News released a survey Thursday that said the majority of Americans are OK with athletes kneeling during the national anthem. But there was a steep divide along racial and political lines.
The CBS News survey of more than 2,000 adults found that 58 percent think it’s acceptable for pro players to kneel in protest during the national anthem. But only 48 percent of white people were OK with the protests, compared with 88 percent among Black people and 62 percent of Hispanics.
“Looking forward to live sports, but any time I witness a player kneeling during the National Anthem, a sign of great disrespect for our Country and our Flag, the game is over for me!” the president said last week on Twitter.
The @utahjazz and @PelicansNBA kneel in solidarity as @JonBatiste performs the National Anthem prior to the NBA Restart. pic.twitter.com/dQeHSbUx87
World news – NG – NBA Restarts Its Season With New Orleans Pelicans, Utah Jazz Kneeling For National Anthem