One of the biggest questions heading into the new season is if players will follow San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s lead and protest the national anthem to raise awareness about police brutality and inequality. At least week’s media day, players across the League were asked NFL players kneeling during the national anthem and if they were planning on holding their own form of protests during the season.
Last night, the Toronto Raptors players and coaches locked arms as both the American and Canadian national anthems played prior to their preseason matchup against the Golden State Warriors:
— Toronto Raptors (@Raptors) October 1, 2016
Raptors lock arms in solidarity during anthems. pic.twitter.com/LIqyRQuU8c
— Mike Ganter (@Mike_Ganter) October 1, 2016
Raptors players coaching staff lock arms for the US anthem pic.twitter.com/EmxCL9uzoc
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) October 1, 2016
Here are the Raptors locking arms for the national anthem. They did so for both anthems. pic.twitter.com/HS2ttshThl
— Tim Bontemps (@TimBontemps) October 1, 2016
Prior to the game, Raptors head coach Dwane Casey was asked if he had spoken to his players about protests at all and told ESPN that there had been open dialogue in the locker room:
“We’ve had some great conversations coming from the South, coming from segregation, segregated schools, and going through integration — I’ve experienced a lot of what’s going on firsthand, and fortunately we talked and [dealt] with each other.
“Guys were real. Guys have sincere feelings, sincere thoughts, sincere things to talk about, and concerns. And that’s what all this is to be about, to induce conversation, and that’s what our players can do.”
On the Warriors side, David West stood a few steps behind the rest of his teammates during the anthems.