As the NBA prepared to take the court for the first time during its Orlando restart plan, the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz knelt on the sideline during the pregame national anthem.
Coaches and game referees also joined in the kneeling, while both teams wore Black Lives Matter shirts on top of their warm-ups.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement saying he supported the teams' decision to protest during the anthem.
“I respect our teams’ unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem,” Silver said.
The Jazz released a statement after the pre-game demonstration, supporting the players' ability to exercise their First Amendment rights.
“We are a values-based organization and believe in the foundational principles of justice, equality, fairness, and economic empowerment," the statement read. "Our organization strives to be a unifying force in our communities, and we hope this time in our history can be a catalyst for positive change in a country we love.”
The Pelicans also put out a statement, saying: “To promote meaningful change relative to social justice and racial equality, the New Orleans Pelicans have partnered with our players, staff and coaches to create a Social Justice Leadership Alliance committed to furthering the discussion, listening and learning and taking action to make positive change in our community and our country.”