Report: Pelicans, Jazz Planning Joint Protest During National Anthem of 1st Game

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistJuly 29, 2020

A basketball court is shown at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee, Fla., Tuesday, July 21, 2020. The NBA's marketing motto for the restart of the season at Walt Disney World is “Whole New Game,” and in many respects, that’s very true. (AP Photo/Tim Reynolds)
Tim Reynolds/Associated Press

The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz are planning a joint protest for Thursday's game, featuring both teams kneeling during the national anthem, according to Malika Andrews of ESPN.

The matchup will be the first official game of the NBA restart in Orlando, Florida.

While the NBA has a rule stating all players must stand for the anthem, the league is not expected to enforce the policy. The Jazz and Pelicans reportedly plan to "display a united front" in the protest, featuring players and coaches from both teams. 

The concept of kneeling during the national anthem was started by former NFL player Colin Kaepernick in 2016, who was doing it as a protest against police brutality and racial injustice. The practice has become more prominent in recent months amid worldwide protests following the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man killed in police custody.

Numerous NBA players have taken part in protests across the nation, while others have spoken up on social media.

The league has kept the message during the restart in Orlando with courts that have "Black Lives Matter" painted on them. Players were also given the option of wearing social justice messages on their jerseys.

MLB has also taken part in protests, with players kneeling before and during the anthem on Opening Day:

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The NBA players will now continue the trend during the first seeding game Thursday.

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