NBA players and coaches from four teams kneeled in the first set of games Thursday night during the national anthem as the league halted their season. The display, inspired by free agent NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, calls attention to racial injustice and police brutality.
In the first game of the season, players and coaches knelt during the rendition of the national anthem of “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” band player John Batiste, between the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz. Team members also wore black Lives Matter shirts and closed arms.
Both Pelicans And Jazz Issued statements in support of the protests. The Jazz, which won the matchup 106-104, released a statement saying the organization stands with its players, coaches and staff as they “exercise their First Amendment rights, and use their tone, their experiences and their platforms To express it calmly. “
In the next game, players and coaches from the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers knelt in solidarity as the Compton Kids Club sang “The Star-Spangled Banner”.
LeBaron James explained the importance of players using their platforms to defeat the Clippers 103–101.
“The game of basketball has always been bigger than just the ball and 10 people on the floor, the referee. This is an opportunity to use this platform and be able to spread a lot of positive, lots of love all over the world.” James on TNT Said in a post-game interview.
“We understand what’s going on in society right now and we’re using this NBA platform – as coaches, as players, as organizations – to stay strong on that. It’s back to the NBA And I hope our fans. So proud of us tonight. “
Asked how much progress the league has made, James insisted that players cannot give up. “Progress has been made, but in the past, when we have seen progress, we have turned our foot slightly off the gas. We cannot do that.”
“We deal with a lot of racism, a lot of social injustice, a lot of police vandalism, not only in my neighborhood, not only with black people, but with people of color. It’s something we continue on people’s ears Want to keep. Open for. “
aFound that most Americans see kneeling during the national anthem as an acceptable way to protest racial discrimination, but there are divisions along political, racial, and generational lines.
after that, Many players participated in Black Lives Matter protests and called for social change. After discussions with the teams, the NBA allowed players to have social justice pre-approved messages on the back of their jerseys.
James and other players have also retained the spotlight, A black emergency technician who was killed by police in his house by drug raids. No officers involved in Taylor’s death have been charged.
The Pelicans, Jazz, Lakers and Clippers are among 22 teams that began the 2019–2020 season at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando. Each team will play eight seeding games over the next two weeks to determine their playoff standings.
Justin Carismo contributed to this report.