The intersection of sports and activism has always been a tough, but historic crusade. With the political climate heavier than ever, athletes have been more vocal when it comes to social justice.
This has been seen from all sports terras, causing the NBA to issue a reminder about their rules pertaining to the National Anthem. ESPN reports late Friday (Sept. 29), a memo by way of deputy commissioner Mark Tatum reminded players and coaches about their rule that all players must stand during the National Anthem.
The memo comes right after NBA commissioner Adam Silver said during a news conference that he expects players to stand during the anthem. “Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem,” Silver said Thursday (Sept. 28). “And I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now.”
Tatum’s memo to players includes suggestions on how to showcase their alliance to certain causes, like creating a video package or engaging in panels with the community. “This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season,” the memo said.
Players like LeBron James, Steph Curry and Carmelo Anthony haven’t made plans to kneel or sit during the anthem, but they have used their platforms to criticize the Trump administration as well as the ongoing racial injustices against people of color.
LeBron On Donald Trump’s Controversial Presidency:
“He doesn’t understand the power that he has, for being the leader of this beautiful country. He doesn’t understand how many kids, no matter the race, look up to the President of the United States for guidance, for leadership, for words of encouragement. He doesn’t understand that, and that’s what makes me more sick than anything, that this is the number-one position in the world … And we are at a time where the most powerful position in the world has an opportunity to bring us closer together as people, and inspire the youth, and put the youth at ease on saying that, “It is OK for me to walk down the street and not be judged because of the color of my skin or because of my race.” And he has no recognition of that. And he doesn’t even care. Maybe he does, but he doesn’t care.”
Stephen Curry On Colin Kapernick’s Protest Against Police Brutality & Absence On Sports Illustrated’s “Unity” Cover
“It is kind of hard see how certain narratives take place, being prisoners of the moment. At the end of day, that stuff does not really matter, it is about the true message and really highlighting the people doing the right things.”
Stephen Curry said the recent SI cover (in which he was on) not including Colin Kaepernick was "terrible" pic.twitter.com/HDSUxcQvdm
— Anthony Slater (@anthonyVslater) September 27, 2017
Carmelo Anthony On Trump’s Comments About Steph Curry & Hurricane Relief Efforts:
“I just think it’s wrong, to be honest with you. I just think it’s silly. It just shows that you don’t really have a care for the fear that the minorities have in our country right now. You don’t really understand. You don’t get it, like what it’s like being a minority. You don’t understand that people are scared. People are afraid. People don’t know what’s going on, and there’s so much going on they don’t know how to feel. I think all we’re looking for is some kind of security blanket that – at the end of the day – you have our back. And you’re showing that you don’t.”
The NBA memo doesn’t mention a punishment for those who decide not to stand during the games.
UPDATE: A source close to the NBA reached out to VIBE.com with an updated memorandum concerning NBA players and the national anthem, and while the current social climate are deemed as “difficult and nuanced issues.” The NBA has provided a multi-pronged approach for players, coaches and staff to express their views as well as maintain the league’s commitment to diversity.
If you have not done so already, we suggest organizing discussions between players, coaches, general managers and ownership to hear the players’ perspectives.
One approach would be for team leadership to review existing team and league initiatives and encourage players to share their thoughts and ideas about them. Following those conversations, teams could develop plans prior to the start of the regular season for initiatives that players and senior leadership could participate in, such as:
Hosting Community Conversations with youth, parents, community leaders and law enforcement about the challenges we face and our shared responsibility to create positive change.
Creating “Building Bridges Through Basketball” programs that use the game of basketball to bring people together and deepen important bonds of trust and respect between young people, mentors, community leaders, law enforcement and other first responders.
Highlighting the importance of mentoring with the goal of adding 50,000 new mentors to support young people through our PSA campaign.