While the NFL allowed teams and individuals to decide whether they would stand for the national anthem or not, the NBA is enforcing a rule that everybody MUST stand.
According to ESPN, the league sent a memo to teams on Friday (Sept. 29) where they reminded teams of its rule that players and coaches stand for the national anthem. It didn’t mention a specific punishment for those that don’t stand, but did say the NBA “will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.”
The memo also states that individual teams “do not have the discretion to waive” the rule that players, coaches and staff must stand for the anthem.
Furthermore, it suggests that teams use other ways to address the recent protest movement sweeping across the NFL and other sports. Specifically, it suggests that players and coaches give a joint pregame address at their first home games. Or, use a video tribute or public service announcement featuring “team leadership speaking about the issues they care about.”
“This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season,” the memo states.
This, of course, follows the controversy between the NFL and President Donald Trump, who demanded players who kneel during the national anthem be fired or fined. A number of players, staff and even owners either kneeled or locked arms during the national anthem at games earlier this month, as a symbol of protesting social and racial injustice, and police brutality.
Playyers in the WNBA followed suit. Before the national anthem ahead of Game 1 of the WNBA Finals, players from the Los Angeles Sparks and Minnesota Lynx locked arms; L.A. players then left the floor during the anthem. The Sparks repeated the protest ahead of Game 2.
While a number of players condemned Trump and his policies during NBA Media Day. Some owners have expressed concern about such statements alienating fans who might support the president, sources told ESPN.