Top NBA executives on have reminded the league’s players and coaches to stand during the National Anthem before games. A league-wide memo was sent out Friday, according to the New York Daily News.
In the message, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum suggested that NBA players use other outlets to address social and political issues. He also recommended that teams should create videos to play prior to the national anthem that features players, coaches and community leaders talking about social injustices.
Players must stand during the flag ceremony to show their “commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community,” Tatum reportedly said.
In the past, NBA players have used their platform as an avenue to express their views on politics, religion and social issues.
During the 1995-96 season, Denver Nuggets player Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf—who converted to Islam a few years prior—was suspended for not participating in the national anthem ceremony, The Undefeated recently recalled. After making the decision to refrain from being a part of the ceremony for religious reasons, his experience mirrored what NFL star Colin Kaepernick has been going through for more than a year now. Abdul-Rauf received death threats and when his contract expired in 1998 he was seemingly blackballed by NBA teams.
Although his decision to not participate in the national anthem ceremony heavily impacted his career, Abdul-Rauf told didn’t have any regrets, he told The Undefeated. “Whether I go broke, whether they take my life, whatever it is, I stood on principles. To me, that is worth more than wealth and fame,” he said.
The NBA memo was distributed days after the fiasco between Golden State Warriors star Stephen Curry and President Donald Trump last weekend. Curry’s decision to decline a White House invite and show his solidarity with Kaepernick clearly had 45 in his feelings.