It’s a bit curious that more people are not talking about this, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver emphasized this week that the league has a rule requiring players to stand for the national anthem and that he expects players to abide by that rule.
Silver’s stance is more significant than the light coverage of it suggests. He’s, without a doubt, the most progressive commissioner of a major U.S. sport. Perhaps the left-leaning media would rather not talk about it because it doesn’t fit with its narrative around NFL players kneeling during the anthem.
That narrative is pretty much this: This country is racist, players’ protests during the anthem are on point, and if you disagree, than you’re a racist.
“We have a rule that requires our players to stand for anthem,” Silver said Thursday, per ESPN. “It’s been a rule as long as I’ve been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem.”
We assure you, Adam Silver is not a racist.
That’s not the only place the narrative being pushed by most of the media has it wrong.
The movement of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem has become convoluted. Misguided from the outset, it was started by Colin Kaepernick to protest what he deems racial “oppression” in the U.S. But that’s no longer what it’s about.
Last week’s league-wide protest was in response to President Trump saying that players who don’t stand for the anthem should be fired and, in the most Trump way possible, he went on to call those players ‘sons of bitches.’
Players, coaches, owners, didn’t take too kindly to Trump’s remarks – and we understand why.
Hundreds of players joined in the demonstrations at last week’s games to show unity, to have each other’s backs – it had little to do with why Kaepernick knelt in the first place. In fact, Eric Reid – Kaepernick’s former 49ers teammate who knelt along with him last season – said as much earlier this week.
This is a complicated issue, to be sure, but let’s try to bottom-line it:
Yes, there are issues with how police deal with black people we must deal with; no, it’s not even close to the most serious issue facing the black community (neither is the smattering of white supremacists around the country); a few rogue racist cops does not equal oppression; and kneeling during the national anthem is going to insult lots of Americans, and if we’re striving for unity on racial issues, disrespecting the country is a horrible way to go about it.