NBA, NBPA discussing ways to handle player anthem protests

Thursday September 22nd, 2016

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association are working on a plan on how to handle potential protests involving players refusing to stand for the national anthem, according to a letter obtained by multiple media outlets.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts sent a letter to all NBA players saying that both sides "have begun developing substantive ways for us to come together and take meaningful action."

NBA rules prohibit players from not standing for the national anthem and the league has no plans to change the rule, according to the report.

In the letter, Silver and Roberts encourage the players to let their ideas be known in order to come to a solution with how to proceed should players decide not to stand for the anthem.

"These ideas are based on the actions many of you have already taken or supported, including convening community conversations in NBA markets to engage young people, parents, community leaders and law enforcement in a candid dialogue," the letter said.

How should the NBA handle national anthem protests?

Silver has commented in the past on players speaking out on social issues.

Several players, including Cleveland Cavaliers forward LeBron James, guard Kyrie Irving, and former Chicago Bulls, current New York Knicks guard Derrick Rose and now-retired NBA player Kobe Bryant wore "I Can't Breathe" shirts during the 2014–15 season in honor of Eric Garner, who died after police placed him a chokehold.

The NBA did not discipline those players. Silver said he respected the players for voicing their personal views on important issues, but wanted them to abide by the league's uniform policy. 

- Scooby Axson

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