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  • Utah Jazz players kneel before a game in Florida, U.S., July 30, 2020.

    Utah Jazz players kneel before a game in Florida, U.S., July 30, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @crewislife

Published 31 July 2020
Opinion

Basketball players joined the anti-racism protests triggered by the George Floyd’s murder.

After a four-month hiatus, the NBA Thursday resumed its season with a strong message against racism: its players and coaches knelt during the opening games’ anthem ceremony.

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Even when the tournament regulations forbid the gesture, stars like LeBron James (Los Angeles Lakers) and Kahwi Leonard (Los Angeles Clippers), along with all their teammates, formed a single line and kneel in unison when the pre-game anthem started.

During the two games of the night, where Utah Jazz beat the New Orleans Pelicans and Los Angeles Lakers defeated the Clippers, the players wore black t-shirts with the "Black Lives Matter" slogan, as part of the anti-racism protests triggered by the George Floyd’s murder on May 25.

League commissioner Adam Silver clarified that the NBA has a long-standing policy regarding what players should and should not do during the playing of the anthem.

Nevertheless, he vowed he respects any form of peaceful protest and acknowledged the social unrest situation the U.S. is going through.

“I’m not sure what our players will do when they come out tomorrow night and we’ll of course address it at the time, but I also understand these are highly unusual times,” he said.

Silver did not mention if the players and coaches who violated the league policy will be sanctioned.

Kneeling has become a symbol to demonstrate for racial equality and to ask for an end to police brutality in the U.S.

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