There are no plans for the NBA to change its national anthem policy amid the outcry surrounding the NFL’s revamped policy announced last week, league commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday.
Silver, speaking at a press conference ahead of Game 1 of the NBA Finals, said that NBA’s rule mandating that players and coaches stand for the national anthem has been around since the 1980s and said that’s the difference between the NBA and the NFL.
“Of course, I’ve watched what the NFL has done. I feel that they’re in a very different situation than the NBA is in. Of course, we’ve had a rule on our books that precedes David Stern. It was put in place by Larry O’Brien in the early ‘80s. From my standpoint it’s been about respect – respect for the institution, respect for the fans, respect for the country that these players are playing in,” Silver said.
“In the case of the NBA, of course, 25 percent of our league is comprised of players who aren’t American, so it’s hard to say in the case of the NBA it’s about patriotism when a quarter of our players aren’t even American. But we’ve viewed it, and we collectively have viewed it as a moment of unity in our arenas. Frankly, it's been a different dialogue in the NBA than it's been in the NFL. Our emphasis at least has been on constructive activities in our communities. There has been no discussion with our Players Association about changing our existing rule.”
Silver comments come days after Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr ripped the NFL over its anthem policy, seemingly unaware his own league’s rules.
"They’re just playing to their fan base, and they’re just basically trying to use the anthem as fake patriotism, nationalism, scaring people,” Kerr said of the NFL. “It’s idiotic, but that’s how the NFL has handled their business.”
Kerr did applauded the NBA for handling social justice matters better than the NFL, according to ESPN.
"I'm proud to be in a league that understands patriotism in America is about free speech," Kerr said. "It's about peacefully protesting. I think our leaders in the NBA understand that when an NFL player is kneeling, they were kneeling to protest police brutality, to protest racial inequality. They're weren't disrespecting the flag or the military, but our president decided to make it about that and the NFL followed suit and pandered to their fan base by creating this hysteria.”
Fox News’ Kaitlyn Schallhorn contributed to this report.