The NBA is finally back – and before the first game of the league resumed, players from both teams joined coaches and referees and knelt during the national anthem.
The coronovirus epidemic caused the league to shift to a bubble format in Orlando, Fla., And after nationwide protests, following the death of Minneapolis man George Floyd, players focused on social justice, as well as Black Lives Matter protest.
Players from the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz, as well as the referee of the game, made a statement Thursday before tip-off. During the previously recorded version of the national anthem, everyone on the court knelt, while some players locked arms, and others clenched their fists in the air.
Both the Pelicans and Jazz released statements on the case.
The Pelicans wrote, “The New Orleans Pelicans stand with the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to protest peacefully. Together with the Utah Jazz, our organization joins the NBA in supporting our players and coaches.”
Jazz said: “Utah Jazz is committed to advancing social justice and stands in support of players, coaches and staff as they exercise their First Amendment rights, expressing themselves with their voices, their experiences, and peace Use their platforms for. “
The NBA rules that players should stand for the national anthem in the early 1980s. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speculated that the players would kneel during these games at Walt Disney World, clarifying that they supported peaceful protests.
Silver told reporters on Thursday, “I respect the unified work of our teams for peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances the long-standing rule will not be implemented while playing our national anthem.”
Many players showed warmth by wearing a “Black Lives Matter” shirt. Thursday marked the beginning of the new jersey as well as messages that many players had added, such as “equality” and “peace”.
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NBA players have used their platform – both bubble and social media – to demand for bubble and justice. The coaches have also said that it is up to them to seek change and educate themselves and others. Pregame operations by the Jazz and Pelicans were expected to remain stable during the remainder of this season.
“It has taken too long to achieve this momentum,” said San Antonio coach Greg Popovich, a video aired by a project organized by both the NIBA and the National Basketball Players Association. “It’s not lost.” can.”
New Orleans coach Alvin Gentry said he appreciated the accidental homogeneity coming from the first game of the season, which resumed just hours after the funeral. Civil rights icon, who died at the age of 80 on 17 July.
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Lewis spent the majority of his life in equality and was the youngest speaker in Washington in March 1963 – Martin Luther King Jr. made his “I Have a Dream” speech. Gentry said he believed the movement, like the one Lewis, had helped endure the spark six decades earlier.
“If you talk to some younger generation, I think it’s here to stay. I really do,” Gentry said. “I have a 20-year-old son and a 22-year-old son, and I know that they feel that this is the best time for us to try to bring change in this country.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.