"The national anthem took two minutes," he said after the game, per Sports Illustrated. "There were guys who needed towels and things to get under their knees. And yet, someone kneeled on another human being's neck for eight minutes. That's nuts."
Rivers' comments referenced the killing of George Floyd on May 25 when former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes while Floyd pleaded for his life and said he couldn't breathe.
All the players, coaches and officials took a knee and locked arms during the national anthem prior to both games Thursday:
Players also wore shirts that said "Black Lives Matter," which was written on the court. LeBron James raised a fist during the playing of the national anthem.
"I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem," NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement.
The killing of Floyd sparked worldwide protests that have continued for weeks, a number of which NBA players joined:
Bleacher Report @BleacherReport
Jaylen Brown drove 15 hours today to peacefully protest in Atlanta. "Being a celebrity, being an NBA player don't exclude me from no conversations at all. ... We're raising awareness for some of the injustices that we've been seeing. It's not ok.” (via @FCHWPO) https://t.co/VABgXUu7cd
While basketball has returned at the Walt Disney World Resort after the season was suspended because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the league, as well as its players and coaches, is still focused on the ongoing fight against systemic racism and police brutality.