The 2017-18 NBA regular season will tipoff on 17 October 2017. The tipoff is earlier than usual to enable a reduction in the number of back-to-back games teams are scheduled to play.
One major issue which is sweeping across major sporting activities in the United States of America is athletes kneeling during the anthem, rather than stand, as it’s the usual norm globally, and that recent trend threatens to repeat itself when the multi-billion dollar NBA season gets underway.
To cushion, address, whatever unpleasant surprises the superstar NBA players might have prepared-an extension of the NFL brouhaha, the NBA sent a memo to teams re-emphasizing that players and coaches must stand during the national anthem.
The memo which was distributed by deputy commissioner Mark Tatum advises teams to allow the league office determine how best to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem.
Furthermore, the memo clearly instructs that individual teams do not have the discretion to waive the rule that players, coaches and staff stand for the anthem. The league has the discretion to discipline players who violate the rule. It is not clear if the league would exercise it in the event of any protest.
The NBA suggested several ways teams could address the current political situation, which includes; a message of unity and how the individual teams are committed to bringing the community together this season, both players and coaches issuing a joint pregame address at their first home games, prepare a video tribute or public service announcement featuring team leadership speaking about the issues they care about.
The latest reminder and precautionary steps by the NBA became necessary after NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem last season, as a means of protesting social and racial injustice and police brutality.
In recent days, NBA stars LeBron James and Stephen Curry have taken to social media expressing their views on President Donald Trump. James described Mr Trump as a ‘bum’, while Curry ruled out accepting a traditional invitation to the White House with his Golden State Warriors championship winning team for a photo-op.