Four-team NBA players and coaches got on their knees during the national anthem on Thursday night in the first set of games as the league halted its season with respect to. The demonstration, inspired by NFL free agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick, draws attention to racial injustice and police brutality.
In the first game of the season restart, between the New Orleans Pelicans and the Utah Jazz, players and coaches knelt during the “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” Jon Batiste’s band leader in the national anthem . Team members also wore Black Lives Matter T-shirts and closed arms.
Both the Pelicans and the Jazz issued statements in support of the protests. The Jazz, who won the match 106-104, issued a statement saying the organization is meeting with its players, coaches and staff, because “they are exercising their First Amendment rights and using their voices, their experiences. and their platforms for expressing themselves peacefully. “
In the next game, players and coaches from the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers knelt in solidarity as the Compton Kidz Club sang the “Star-Spangled Banner.”
After the Lakers retreated to defeat the Clippers 103-101, LeBron James spoke about the importance of players using their platforms.
“The game of basketball has always been bigger than the ball and the ten guys on the ground, the referees. It’s an opportunity to use that platform and be able to spread a lot of positive, a lot of love around the world,” he said. James in his post-game interview on TNT.
“We understand what’s going on in society right now and we’re using this NBA platform – as players, as coaches, as organizations – to continue strongly about it. It’s great to have the NBA back and I hope the our fans are proud of us tonight. “
When asked how far the league has progressed, James stressed that players cannot shy away. “There’s been progress, but in the past, when we’ve seen progress, we’ve left the gas part a little bit. We can’t do that.”
“We deal with a lot of racism, a lot of social injustice, a lot of police brutality, not just in my neighborhood, not just with blacks, but with people of color. It’s something we want to keep people’s ears open to.”
Athey found that most Americans consider themselves kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial discrimination as an acceptable form of protest, but there are divisions along the political, racial, and generational lines.
After, many players have participated in the Black Lives Matter protests and have expressed the need for social change. After team discussions, the NBA allowed players to have pre-approved social justice messages on the back of the shirt.
James and other players have also kept their sights on, a black emergency technician who was killed at his home by police who carried out a drug attack. None of the officers involved in Taylor’s death have been charged.
The Pelicans, Jazz, Lakers and Clippers are among the 22 teams participating in the 2019-2020 season restart at the ESPN Wide World Sports Complex at Orlando’s Walt Disney World Resort. Each team will play eight seeding games over the next two weeks to determine their playoff standings.
Justin Carissimo contributed to this report.