The NBA sent a memo late Friday to teams reinforcing its existing rule that players and coaches are to stand for the national anthem.
The memo also suggested other ways in which those who chose to might address the recent protest movement sweeping across the NFL and other sports.
The memo, a copy of which was obtained by ESPN, was distributed by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum. It instructs teams that “the league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.”
The memo states that individual teams “do not have the discretion to waive” the rule that players, coaches and staff stand for the anthem. The league has the discretion to discipline players who violate the rule. It is not clear if the league would exercise it in the event of any protest. The league also does not want teams independently disciplining players, sources say, and has encouraged open dialogue within teams.
In the memo, Tatum suggests teams might address the current political climate by having players and coaches give a joint pregame address at their first home games.
“This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season,” the memo states.
The memo also suggests teams might prepare a video tribute or public service announcement featuring “team leadership speaking about the issues they care about.”
The memo comes a day after commissioner Adam Silver said he expects players to stand for the national anthem.
Do you think any players will challenge the rule?