NBA commissioner Adam Silver is speaking out about the league’s plans for how teams and players voice their opinions on social justice issues.
During an appearance on CNN on Tuesday, Silver addressed whether the NBA will continue to permit teams to protest. Since the league’s return in Orlando, many players and coaches from every team knelt during the National Anthem. Furthermore, a number of players chose to wear messages on their jerseys while playing on courts that display “Black Lives Matter.”
“I expect it will manifest itself in different ways. I think some of the things that we’re doing this summer are unique,” Silver said. “For example, the social justice messages on the jerseys, putting Black Lives Matter on the playing floor, my belief is that those are things unique to this moment in time.”
The NBA returned in late July at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando. For the past 39 years, the league enforced its rule stating “players, coaches and trainers must stand and line up in a dignified posture along the foul lines” during the national anthem.
Adam Silver Allows Change in Kneeling Rules in NBA Return
Following the death of George Floyd earlier this year, in addition to several incidents of police killing unarmed Black people, the NBA and the players union agreed to permit teams to kneel during the anthem. The NBA also approved putting “Black Lives Matter” on the court as well as allowing players to put messages on their jerseys.
“There’s also a recognition that even – that if we did some of those things all the time, there might be even a certain amount of fatigue around them. And they wouldn’t draw the same sort of attention,” Silver said. “I do want people to see this as the values of this league.”
The NBA players union president, Chris Paul, says the players plan to continue demonstrations moving forward. The Oklahoma City Thunder star spoke out during an interview with CNN last week.
“This isn’t a one-time thing, either,” Paul says. “Because we’ve seen the success with guys speaking out and making sure they use their platforms, hopefully this is a thing going forward.”
[H/T USA Today]