NBA Commissioner Adam Silver re-itirated that players are required to stand for the national anthem, but should they join protests against it the way NFL players have, the League will “deal with it when it happens.”
If a player refuses to stand for national anthem, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said league will "deal with it when it happens."
— Jeff Zillgitt (@JeffZillgitt) September 28, 2017
The NBA’s long-standing policy, according to Silver, is an “opportunity in our arenas for both teams to come together and have a moment of reflection.”
The Commish, however, stressed that he respects and encourages players’ social activism.
Per the NY Times:
“It’s always been an opportunity in our arenas for both teams to come together and have a moment of reflection,” Silver said, adding: “It’s about respect for the country they play in. It’s about respect for the principles that underlie this country. It doesn’t necessarily mean that everyone agrees at any given point with what’s happening in this country.”
But with the start of the N.B.A.’s season just weeks away, and some of the league’s biggest stars, including LeBron James, openly criticizing [president Donald Trump] and his policies, Silver may have to decide whether he will punish players for breaking league rules by staging protests during the anthem.
“All I can say is, if that were to happen, we’ll deal with it when it happens,” Silver said.
On Thursday, Silver lauded the league’s players for their social activism and community outreach. He also described “freedom of expression” as one of the country’s core principles, even as he reiterated the league’s longstanding policy on the anthem.
Said Silver: “It is my hope, though, that N.B.A. players, 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. Then, to act on those voices.”