The entire National Basketball Association — including every coach and referee — took a knee for "The Star Spangled Banner" on Thursday night as their season reopened in Orlando, Florida. Rather than stand up for the United States of America, the league instead chose to kneel in subservience to the neo-Marxist political organization Black Lives Matter.
The NBA season is restarting in a modified “bubble” format, after the season was suspended in March due to the coronavirus. Since the suspension, the death of Minneapolis criminal George Floyd in police custody has reignited the Black Lives Matter political movement, which calls for, among other things, defunding the police and disrupting the “Western-prescribed nuclear family structure.”
Every player wore a Black Lives Matter shirt as part of their warm-up gear. Above the NBA insignia on the court were the words Black Lives Matter. Instead of their names, on the back of almost every jersey was a “social justice” message such as “freedom” or “equality.”
As with Major League Baseball last week, the NBA chose to endorse the unpatriotic behavior rather than ignore or condemn it. The league's NBA TV Twitter account tweeted a video of the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz kneeling during the anthem.
Though it is a league rule that players and coaches must stand as the national anthem is played, Commissioner Adam Silver had already signaled just after the game's tip-off that no fines or other punishments would be forthcoming. “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's statement read.
The fact that the entire stunt is based on a lie — there is no evidence of systemic racism in the police or society at large — is either unknown to them or unacknowledged.
The New Orleans Pelicans addressed the players' decision to kneel in a statement after the game's tip off. “The New Orleans Pelicans stand by the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest,” the statement read. “Collectively, with the Utah Jazz, our organization joins the NBA in supporting our players and coaches.
“To promote meaningful change relative to social justice and racial equality, The New Orleans Pelicans have partnered with our players, staff and coaches to create a Social Justice Leadership Alliance committed to furthering the discussion, listening and learning and taking action to make positive change in our community and our country.”
In the night's second game between the two Los Angeles teams, the Lakers and Clippers, the scene was repeated with the league's marquee player LeBron James linking arms with teammates while kneeling. The in-unison kneeling is expected to continue throughout the entire truncated season and playoffs.
On July 26, players from two teams in the league's sister organization, the WNBA chose to leave the court rather than listen to the national anthem. Before the start of the season opening game between the New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm, players walked off the court just prior to the playing of the national anthem. Earlier this month, the women's league announced that it's 2020 season would be dedicated to raising awareness about “social justice” rather than basketball.
Here's an idea: Since you're basketball teams, why not just play basketball?
The recent influx of leftist politics into professional (and one would assume coming soon collegiate) sports is extremely troubling. One of the main reasons people tune in to or attend sporting events is that they wish an escape from events of the day — especially politics. They do not wish to be lectured to about “social justice” by highly paid, pampered athletes with left-wing political opinions. And they definitely don't like the idea that the leagues which govern those players are endorsing the juvenile behavior.
With the current slate of games being played without fans, the leagues and the players don't risk being booed by patriotic Americans for their actions. What they do risk, however, is any good will that such fans feel toward their local teams and the leagues in general.
The NBA's season is now taking place in what they refer to as a “bubble,” meaning no one is allowed in or out of the “bubble” while competing. But if the league wants to remain viable going forward, it might want to look at how their actions are being perceived outside of that bubble and change course quickly. If not, then they'll get what they deserve: an American public which no longer cares about their games, their players, or their league.