Mavs Carlisle On Anthem Protests: 'We Support Players 100 Percent; It's A Free Country'

Mike Fisher

DALLAS - Dallas Mavericks coach Rick Carlisle says he is uncertain what form NBA players' expressions of civil rights will take once the league reconvenes in Orlando but that he and NBA coaches are collectively "100-percent supportive of our players. ... It's a free country.''

In a Wednesday Zoom call with DFW media members following the team's first post-hiatus workout to start the league's re-boot, Carlisle, who is president of the NBA Coaches Association, announced the creation of "NBA Coaches For Racial Justice.''

“This is a longterm initiative,'' Carlisle said. "We have got to keep this conversation going. It’s more important than ever. ... There’s no way it’s going to happen overnight, but the conversation must continue.”

the NBA coaches' group will work "under the umbrella of the Obama Foundation,'' Carlisle said.

The NBA has been progressive in working to observe the "Black Lives Matter'' message. That slogan will be emblazoned on the courts in Orlando and the league is considering allowing players to wear social-justice statements on the backs of their jerseys in the place of nameplates. Carlisle said he anticipates (and supports) players' "different forms of expression.''

Mavs GM Donnie Nelson said the Dallas organization is in complete support of the initiatives.

"We have an incredible platform to put the spotlight on issues that are paramount to all of us,'' Nelson said. "There is nothing more important to us as an organization and as a league to get it right.''