Sources: Pelicans, Jazz talk united anthem protest

  • Staff Writer
  • Joined ESPN in 2018
  • Appears regularly on ESPN Chicago 1000

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz are discussing a plan to surround the Black Lives Matter signage on the Wide World of Sports arena court and kneel together during the playing of the national anthem on Thursday, league sources told ESPN.

The game is the first of the NBA restart.

Instead of having two groups protest separately, the Pelicans and Jazz are adamant that they want to display a united front, sources said. The coaches are expected to join the players in the demonstration.

League officials are not expected to enforce a 1981 anthem policy that says that “players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line.”

Even before traveling to Orlando, Florida, players insisted that they do not want playing games to distract from the fight for social justice that has grown louder in the wake of George’s Floyd’s death. Floyd, a Black man, was killed after a white Minneapolis police officer kneeled on his neck for more than seven minutes.

Since arriving in the “bubble,” players have used virtual media availabilities to call for justice for victims of police brutality and racism and to encourage fans to vote.

Other teams are also expected to protest during the playing of the anthem.

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