As expected, in the first NBA games more than four months before the game, demonstrations were carried out by players who supported a nationwide protest movement against the excessive use of police forces against blacks.
Every member of the Lakers, Clippers, Jazz and Pelicans knelt down for the national anthem on Thursday evening, following the main template for athlete protests in the United States, which began in the NFL in 2016 with Colin Kaepernick.
The players on each team also wore messages on their jerseys to support equality and social improvements. Sentences include “Educational Reform”, “Say Their Names” and “Black Lives Matter”. Utah’s Donovan Mitchell also wore “Black Lives Matter” shoes.
MORE: LeBron James decides not to put a message on the jersey
Protests in the United States began in response to the assassination of George Floyd by the police in Minneapolis on May 25, but continued as part of a broader movement against systemic racism.
Athletes have recently spoken more than ever and used their platforms to become activists. The NBA joined MLB, NASCAR and Formula 1 as sports on Thursday to address the Black Lives Matter movement before a live event this year.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver has generally supported players who, at least in this turbulent time, take a stand on issues of social justice.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver: “I respect the unified act of peaceful protest by our teams for social justice and, under these unique circumstances, I will not enforce our longstanding rule that requires standing while playing our national anthem.”
– Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews), July 30, 2020
MORE: Silver indicated that he would allow the kneeling even though it violates the NBA rules
Lakers vs. Clippers and Jazz vs. Pelicans were the first of two games in the Orlando bubble on Thursday to mark the return of the NBA after the season was suspended on March 11 due to the coronavirus pandemic.