Just before the start on Tuesday night, Thursday night, all the players, who were accompanied by coaches and game officials, got to their knees.
Players also wore Black Black Lives Matter shirts during warm-up and during the National Anthem.
In the game jerseys, the names of the players have been replaced by messages such as “Equality”, “I’m a man”, “Ally” and “Say her name”, which send a clear message in support of the social justice movement.
After a while, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he would not force players to stand up during the anthem.
“I respect the united act of peaceful protest by our teams for social justice, and in these unique circumstances we will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring status while playing our national anthem.”;
The New Orleans Pelicans said in a statement that the team stands for “the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peaceful protest.”
“Together with jazz in Utah, our organization will join the NBA in supporting our players and coaches. To support meaningful change related to social justice and racial equality, New Orleans pelicans have teamed up with our players, employees and coaches to create leadership in social justice. The Alliance is committed to developing a debate, listening and learning, and taking action to bring about positive change in our community and in our country, “she said.
Jazz said the team was “committed to promoting social justice and supporting players, coaches and employees in exercising their rights to the first amendment and using their voices, their experience and their platforms for peaceful expression”.
Demonstrations during sports leagues
The NBA is not the first league to renew its season as players kneel to support the move.
The WNBA, when the league began its season last week, dedicated the season to Breonna Taylor and Say Her Name. In addition to basketball, many MLB players also took their knees as the season continued earlier this month.
All of these demonstrations are amid unrest in the United States over the deaths of Ahmaud Arbery, Breon Taylor and George Floyd, reflecting a demonstration by Colin Kaepernick during the NFL 2016-17 season.
The NBA returned after a 20-week break in the so-called Bubbles in Orlando, Florida.
The league ended on March 11, when – just before Utah Jazz was to take over the Thunder in Oklahoma City – it was discovered that the Rudy Gobert Jazz Center had tested positive for Covid-19.
On Thursday night, as the game continued, it was good that Gobert scored the first basket in the layout.