Every player, coach and referee on the court for the National Basketball Association’s restart tonight took a knee during the national anthem.
The move included locking arms together. Players of both teams — the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans — wore “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts during warmups, and the same message was emblazoned on the court in Orlando, where the NBA’s complete schedule will be played. Several players also had league-approved social justice messages on their jerseys where their names usually appear, including “Say Her Name,” “Equality,” “Listen to Us” and “I Am a Man.” Watch a clip below.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said prior to the game that he supported teams kneeling.
“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.
Numerous NBA players have spoken about social justice issues since starting training in the Orlando “bubble” that houses all the teams.
The mother of Breonna Taylor, the Louisville woman who was shot dead by police during a botched drug raid, held a virtual meeting with nearly 40 players, according to ESPN. She was made an honorary member of all 22 teams participating in Orlando, NBC Sports reported.