The NBA sent a memo to all teams Friday warning players and coaches that if they do not stand for the national anthem, they will face consequences.
Deputy commissioner Mark Tatum warned 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,” according to the memo obtained by ESPN.
The memo also states that individual teams “do not have the discretion to waive” the NBA rule that requires players, coaches, and staff to stand for the national anthem.
If players violate the rule, the league will make the judgement call on how to discipline them and not the individual teams, according to the memo.
Tatum also suggested that instead of kneeling to protest the national anthem before games, players and coaches could give a “joint pregame address” when their first home games take place.
“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 suggested that teams could prepare video public service announcements “speaking about the issues they care about.”
Tatum’s memo comes a day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver announced that he expects players to stand for the national anthem.
“It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem,” Silver said.
The NBA seems to be looking at the NFL as a cautionary tale, as the NFL has dealt with some sponsors pulling their advertisements from games, a decline in viewership and game attendance, and fans burning their gear in protest of the players who refused to stand for the anthem.