NBA Circulates Memo – Take A Knee
Amid the growing controversy of professional athletes “taking a knee” during the National Anthem in protest of racial inequality, the NBA circulated a memo that warned players and coaching staff to stand for the national anthem ahead of the start of 2017 – 2018 season. The NBA has a “rule” that players and coaching staff must observe the anthem “in a dignified manner.” According to ESPN, the memo states “the league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.”
League commissioner Adam Silver called for the league to serve as force of cohesion in a press conference, “I think that sports, historically and the NBA [in] particular has been a unifying force and while there’s always been disagreements in society, sports arenas have been places where people from all walks of life have come together and…for a common experience and when it comes to political disagreements I hope the we, together with our players, can play a constructive role in bringing people together,” Silver said.
It remains to be seen how each team will address the desire of their players and staff to protest, but I don’t see a league of professional athletes that is primarily composed of African American players remaining passively compliant. Former NBA superstar player Kobe Bryant said he’d “kneel” during the National Anthem if he was still playing professionally during a recent appearance on The Hollywood Reporter’s Awards Chatter podcast (rickeysmileymorningshow.com) and famed center, Bill Russell tweeted, “proud to take a knee, and stand tall against social injustice. #takeaknee #medaloffreedom #NFL #BillRussell #MSNBC.”
It wouldn’t be prudent (heck it’d be foolish) for the league to suspend players who take a knee this season. You cannot expel an owner for racist comments then in the same breadth threaten players of a primarily black sports league from exercising their First Amendment right to freedom of speech.
Hey Commissioner there’s already a cap on the salary, don’t put a lid on peaceful protests.