NBA players expected to stand during National Anthem

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Tam Duong Jr.

2015 redesigned Pioneer logo.

Myles Watkins,
Staff Writer

After the National Football League kneeling protests came to a pinnacle in week three of the 2017 NFL season, it’s only natural the NBA and its players began to voice their own opinions on the matter as the regular season approaches.

People may think protests that forego standing for the National Anthem was first started by the NFL when Colin Kaepernick bent the knee for the first time in Aug. 2016. But it actually started with NBA player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf as he stayed in the locker room or stretched during the anthem for a 60 plus game stretch during the 1996 season.  

But the question of what the NBA believes players should do during the anthem has been put to rest by Commissioner Adam Silver during his annual autumn Board of Governors meetings in late September.

The NBA rule books states a team must, “line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line” during the anthem meaning we may not see many bent knees during the anthem this upcoming NBA season. “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,” Silver said.

Although this type of protest seems to be prohibited, Silver gave the players an outlet for their voices to be heard.

“It is my hope … with NBA players that given the platform that they have, whether it’s the regular engagement they have with the media, whether it’s social media, whether it’s other opportunities they have to work in the communities, that they have those opportunities for their voices to be heard,” Silver said. “Then to act on those voices.”

Commissioner Silver showed that the NBA wants their players to express their opinions on issues that affect our country but most importantly, to act on the words they speak.

Even Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James stated during the Cleveland Cavaliers Media day press conference on Sept. 28 that “he wouldn’t be surprised,” if the NBA counterparts would attempt kneeling during the national anthem as the NFL did, he also expressed that “My voice and what I do in my community is more powerful than getting on a knee. … It’s not about the disrespect of the flag and our military, it’s about equality and the freedom to speak about things they feel are unjust.”

We’ll have to wait and see what NBA players do during the anthem this upcoming season but regardless of what they choose to do, if their message is lost in the method, is the protest truly worth the attention?