Basketball

NBA, Silver to 'deal with' kneeling during anthem if needed

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ByReuters
30/06/2020 at 20:03 | Updated 30/06/2020 at 20:04

A longstanding NBA rule requiring players to stand at attention in an orderly line during the playing of the United States and Canadian national anthems could be challenged starting next month in Orlando.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver, speaking at the Time 100 summit on Tuesday,
sidestepped a question about how the league will approach kneeling during the
anthem, which will be played prior to every game.

Silver was asked if players will be "allowed to kneel during the national
anthem in Orlando."

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"Again, I'm not comfortable with the word 'allowed,'" Silver said. "I think,
you know, we've had a rule on our books that goes back to the early '80s. It
precedes even David Stern's tenure as commissioner. That calls for players to
stand in a line, at attention during the national anthem. I also understand
the role of the protest and I think that we'll deal with that situation when
it presents itself."

In an interview June 19, Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban said he hopes
players are allowed to kneel during the anthem this season as a form of
recognition that the NBA will help address racial inequality and police
brutality, among other social concerns.

The exact wording in the NBA rulebook states players "must stand and line up
in a dignified posture along the foul lines during the playing of the American
and/or Canadian national anthems."

Cuban said he would defer to NBPA executive director Michele Roberts and
Silver on a policy for the anthem, but pointed to the current climate and
circumstances when noting an exception should be made.

"Whether it's holding their arm up in the air, whether it's taking a knee,
whatever it is, I don't think this is an issue of respect or disrespect to the
flag or to the anthem or to our country," Cuban told ESPN. "I think this is
more a reflection of our players' commitment to this country and the fact that
it's so important to them that they're willing to say what's in their heart
and do what they think is right. I'll defer to Adam on any final judgments and
Michele Roberts.

"But the reality is, my hope is we'll let the players do exactly what they
think is the right thing to do."

ESPN reported the NBA plans to script "Black Lives Matter" on the three
gameday courts scheduled to be used in Orlando for the resumption of the
2019-20 regular season and playoffs.

--Field Level Media

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