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NBA memo enforces rule that players and coaches stand during national anthem

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The NBA doesn’t stop its players from addressing the recent protest movement that has been sweeping across the NFL and other sports. However, the league wants them to use different means other than kneeling during the national anthem.

According to the report made by ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the NBA — through deputy commissioner Mark Tatum — sent a memo to all the teams to emphasize the league’s rule that players and coaches should stand for the national anthem.

A copy of the memo cited that “the league office will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.”

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The memo goes on to highlight that teams “do not have the discretion to waive” the league’s rule about standing for the anthem, though it encouraged them to conduct open dialogues within the organization.

Despite inhibiting players from breaking the rule, however, the league suggested other ways players and coaches can send a message and voice their stand about the current political issues, such as preparing and sharing a video tribute, addressing the crowd at their first home games, or making a public service announcement.

“This could include a message of unity and how the team is committed to bringing the community together this season,” the memo states, per Lowe.

The league distributed the memo a day after Commissioner Adam Silver asked the NBA and its players to take a “constructive role” when it comes to political disagreements, citing that sports arenas “have been places where people from all walks of life have come together.”

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Several players have condemned US President Donald Trump and his controversial remarks in the past weeks, and while the NBA supports its athletes in using their platform to address issues that matter to them, the league is also looking for ways to find a good balance to include those who have varying opinions.

It remains to be seen how teams and players will react on the latest memo, but the NBA is undoubtedly hoping their latest action would spark a more acceptable and appropriate approach for players to express their views.