Zach Lowe of ESPN reports that the NBA sent a memo on Friday night to teams “reinforcing its rule that players and coaches must stand for the national anthem.”
The NBA sent a memo late Friday to teams reinforcing its rule that players and coaches must stand for the national anthem, and suggesting other ways in which they might address the recent protest movement sweeping across the NFL and other sports.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, was distributed by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. It instructs teams 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.”
The memo states that individual teams “do not have the discretion to waive” the rule that players, coaches and staff must stand for the anthem. The league has the discretion to discipline players who violate the rule
Included in the memo are suggestions on ways teams can address “current political climate” without kneeling during the national anthem.
In the memo, Tatum suggests teams might address the current political climate by having players and coaches give a joint pregame address at their first home games.
“This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season,” the memo states.
The memo also suggests teams might prepare a video tribute or public service announcement featuring “team leadership speaking about the issues they care about.”
This news comes a day after commissioner Adam Silver cited the rule on players standing during the anthem, and said that he expects them to continue to do so.
Adam Silver speaks on recent issues and how it affects the NBA moving forward pic.twitter.com/wD9d0TjQlj
— NBA TV (@NBATV) September 28, 2017
LeBron James and Steph Curry are two of the many NBA stars to speak out against President Donald Trump in recent weeks. After Trump tweeted about Curry being uninvited to the White House, James referred to Trump as a “bum” and released a video saying that Trump is “using sports as the platform to try to divide us.”
It will be interesting to see if any players ignore the rule, and how the NBA will respond if so.