NBA commissioner Adam Silver assured the league will respect peaceful protests when the NBA returns on Thursday (Friday, Manila time), marking its restart months after being halted due to COVID-19.
Silver, however, did not say the possible steps to be taken if protesting players begin kneeling during the anthem.
"The NBA has had a rule on its books that preceded David Stern, which was standing for the national anthem. Having said that, I respect peaceful protest," said Silver in Yahoo! Sports.
"I'm not sure what our players will do when they come out (Thursday night) and we'll, of course, address it at the time but I also understand these are highly unusual times."
Several players are reportedly planning to do something similar to what Colin Kaepernick did in the NFL to take part in anti-racism protests following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor who were killed by police.
Silver said he recognizes that demonstrations are important, especially with NBA that’s composed primarily of black players.
“It’s been part of our history. I think of it as part of the DNA of this league,” he said in a separate Yahoo! Sports report.
“You think of Bill Russell and some of the early players, their activism over the years. Now an issue like the killing of George Floyd comes and you have a league, in the case of the NBA, that is roughly 80% black — similarly with the WNBA.
“These are issues in terms of racial inequities in society that are near and dear to their hearts. Right at the time that we were making plans to relaunch the season is when the death of George Floyd occurred."
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