Expect NBA Players to Stand During National Anthem
Expect NBA players to continue standing for the national anthem, not only because it is a league rule, but because the players are aware of what it means in what the Commissioner believes is a divided America.
“Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem,” Silver said Thursday. “And I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now.”
Adam Silver said the playing of the national anthem has always been a time for respect and reflection, even in a league where 25% of the players are not American, and recalled that many teams locked arms last season.
Mr. Silver wants them to continue showing unity during the anthem, but to do it while standing.
“It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem,” he said.
Mr. Silver did not say what would happen if any players refuse to stand, adding: “If that were to happen, we’ll deal with it when it happens.”
He spoke following the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings, during which owners passed rules designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, and teams from losing games on purpose to improve their draft position.
Under the new draft lottery rules, the teams with the 3 worst records will all have 14% odds to land the # 1 pick when the changes are implemented with the Y 2019 draft.
The team with the worst record previously had 25% odds to win the lottery and could fall to the # 4 spot in the draft. Now that team call tumble all the way to 5th.
The lottery changes were to discourage tanking, the practice of losing games on purpose in an effort to improve draft odds. The Philadelphia 76ers relied on the tactic heavily in recent years and the league felt it needed to step in and urge teams to always be competitive.
Mr. Silver felt teams had even begun feeling pressure to use the strategy of fielding poor squads and building through the draft.
“I felt it was corrosive to this league,” he said.
The 2nd-worst team has a 19.9% to win the lottery and the 3rd seed a 15.6% chance under the current format that will remain through next June’s draft.
The board voted to allow Mr. Silver to fine teams who violate the league’s new guidelines about resting players. Teams cannot sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000.
The rules also say that unless there are unusual circumstances, teams should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.
The league office had long resisted getting involved in coaches’ decisions about resting players. But with its national TV partners paying the league billions, Mr. Silver felt he had to act after LeBron James and stars from the Golden State Warriors sat out nationally televised games last season.
“It’s not a position we want the league to be in,” Mr. Silver said. “It ultimately is my hope that the rules go in the drawer and that teams step up here and see that there is a larger obligation to our fans, to the basketball community.”
President Trump had criticized NFL players for their anthem protests in a speech the night before, and hundreds responded in games Sunday and Monday by kneeling during the anthem.
Mr. Silver thinks NBA players have other opportunities, either by continuing their community service efforts or through the media, to make their voices heard.
“I’m hoping once again that this league can play a constructive role there,” he said.
Have a terrific weekend.