Speaking on the conduct he expects from his players during the national anthem presentation, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he hopes to see his players on their feet.
“I don’t know if the players are organizing anything,” he explained Friday. “All I can say is what we have seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem. It would be my hope that they continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do.”
If you haven’t watched much of the NBA preseason and, let’s face it, not many people do, player protests have mainly consisted of players standing arm-in-arm during the anthem.
Silver went on: “I have thought a lot about this, and Michele Roberts and I talked a lot about these issues…there may be no organization in our society better positioned than the NBA and its players to try and have an impact on these difficult issues plaguing many of our cities. So aside from discussions around the anthem, it is my expectation that as we move beyond the collective bargaining [negotiating] process, that we and the players together will continue to address these issues and look for opportunities where we can really make a difference.”
Silver is quite correct about the NBA occupying a good position amidst the anthem debate. According the Yahoo! Sports poll released yesterday, those not watching the NFL listed the Kaepernick-inspired protests as the primary reason.
However, when the poll asked fans of other sports, how many of them would not watch if the protests spread to their sport? Only 17% of NBA fans said they would stop watching the Association—by far the lowest out of the other sports Yahoo! polled.
Follow Dylan Gwinn on Twitter @themightygwinn