It shouldn’t be a surprise reports have surfaced that NBA players would kneel during the national anthem, it seems a fitting decision that blends in with the other social justice efforts around the NBA’s restart.
Now comes another report, this time from Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, that the players have talked and this is happening.
Sources: NBA players plan to kneel during National Athem on opening nights of season, starting Thurs. Bucks, Lakers, Clippers, Raptors, Celtics, Nuggets, Jazz, Heat staying at same hotel had a meeting. “One of the 1st oncourt actions will be kneeling opening night,” player said.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) July 24, 2020
Kneeling is going to happen.
The NBA has a rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem.
Back when Collin Kaepernick was kneeling and there was a discussion about whether NBA players would follow his lead (they didn’t), an NBA league office official told NBC Sports it was unlikely any punishment would be handed down if they did. This person noted that at the time the WNBA’s Los Angeles Sparks would all leave the floor during the anthem in a very conspicuous protest and the league’s reaction was to let the players do what they thought was right. The same would follow in the NBA. Then and now. The NBA is willing to bend its rules (when it suits them).
Of course, if players do kneel they will get criticized by lazy politicians trying to score easy points. A few fans (and a lot of Russian Twitter bots) will follow their lead, criticizing the players for being unpatriotic and disrespectful of the military, entirely missing the point on both fronts.
The players know this and will not stop their social justice messages.