In the past weeks, numerous NFL players have joined in on Colin Kaepernick’s original protest, where they will sit or kneel for the national anthem before football games as a way to voice their protest against inequality and police violence (the protest is not against the military, the flag, or the anthem itself).
As the start of the NBA season draws closer, many people are anxious to see what (if anything) its players will do in response. There has already been a few headline grabbing moments, like the Golden State Warriors refusing to take the traditional championship visit to the White House (and then being uninvited anyway) and LeBron James calling the current president a “bum” on Twitter. Most of us expect NBA players to send some sort of message when the regular season starts later in October.
One person who doesn’t seem to expect anything happening, though, is NBA commissioner Adam Silver. The NBA actually has a rule that says “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.” It’s found in the “Player/Team Conduct and Dress” section of the NBA rulebook. When asked whether the league plans to enforce the rule or not, Silver said he expects the players to stand.
Adam Silver wants NBA players to express themselves and be active but expects them to follow league rule and stand for national anthem.
— Brian Mahoney (@briancmahoney) September 28, 2017
To muddy the waters even further, Silver responded to a follow up question about punishment for players who refuse to stand by giving the most non-answer of answers.
Asked if a player will be penalized if he doesn't stand for the anthem, Adam Silver says such a situation would be dealt with if it arises.
— Ian Begley (@IanBegley) September 28, 2017
We can’t predict the future, but something tells us that superstars like LeBron James and Steph Curry aren’t likely to be silent on this issue, let alone the rest of the predominately black NBA player base.