*NBA Commissioner Adam Silver is making things clear before the season starts next month. His players will be standing for the national anthem, because it’s a league rule.
“Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem,” Silver said Thursday. “And I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now.”
Silver said playing the anthem is a time for respect and reflection, even though a quarter of the NBA’s players are not American. He noted that many teams locked arms last season, and he wants that practice to continue while standing.
“It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem,” Silver said.
Silver didn’t indicate what would happen if players violated the rule. “If that were to happen, we’ll deal with it when it happens.”
Silver’s statements come less than a week after Donald Trump declared that last season’s NBA champion Golden State Warriors would not be invited to the White House, as tradition dictates. All-star guard Stephen Curry indicated he didn’t want to come, and other players indicated reluctance, leading to Trump’s reaction.
Silver thinks NBA players have other opportunities, either by continuing their community service efforts or through the media, to make their voices heard. “I’m hoping once again that this league can play a constructive role there,” Silver said.