The National Basketball Association (NBA) sent a memo to all 30 teams, on Friday, highlighting and reinforcing an existing rule requiring all players to standing for the Star Spangled Banner.
The memo said that the league rule – which states that “players, coaches, and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem” – must be adhered to when the season starts Oct. 17.
The document succinctly stated that teams cannot waive the rule, adding that the league office “will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach or trainer does not stand for the anthem.”
A statement by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, during a news conference on Thursday in New York, had referenced the decades-old rule.
“We have a rule that requires our players to stand for the anthem,” Silver said. “It’s been our rule for as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem.”
The memo pointed out that players could use pre-game videos or PSAs to convey messages of unity. "This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season," the document detailed. The memo also suggests teams might prepare a video tribute or public service announcement featuring "team leadership speaking about the issues they care about."
According to The Washington Post, the document was sent to league owners, team presidents and general managers by NBA Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum, following discussions relating to a recent statement by U.S. President Donald Trump. The head of state said that National Football League (NFL) players who “took a knee” during the anthem should be fired.
Reportedly the original intended of the NBA's rule was to dissuade players from shooting or warming up while the anthem was being played.
Several weeks ago, Silver and executive director of the National Basketball Players Association Michele Roberts sent a letter to the players, saying: “None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you to know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”
On Friday, Golden State Warriors said there was no plan ahead of their preseason opener against the Denver.
“I haven’t been made aware of it. If there were to be something, I would’ve heard,” Warriors Coach Steve Kerr told reporters after practice on Friday. “That’s what we talk about as a group. We never do anything without the whole team discussing it. At this point, there’s no plans.”
Players who follow former NFL's San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick's example, and kneel, may find themselves subjected to disciplinary action from the NBA.
In recent weeks, NBA players LeBron James, Stephen Curry and Chris Paul have criticized both President Donald Trump and the current societal and political state of the country.