How many games did it take to for there to be some kind of protest action during the national anthem of an NBA game?
At the first preseason game of the year, the Toronto Raptors players and coaches locked arms during both the American and Canadian national anthems, before they tipped off against Golden State in a game played in Vancouver.
On the other side, veteran David West stood about two steps behind the rest of his teammates during the anthems.
Raptors players had said since the start of training camp they were looking for a way not so much to protest but to keep the conversation going about what fueled the protests in the first place. This seems a smart answer.
The league expects there to be more protests coming. The NBA (unlike the NFL) has a rule that players must stand with their team for the national anthem, and they have enforced it in years past. The league and players union have talked about how to handle the protests that everyone knows will continue to come in a variety of forms.
The protesters will have the support of big names such as Gregg Popovich and Doc Rivers. What the NBA will want is a way to help players not only express their opinions but make a difference in their communities.