While Americans reel in disgust over the unpatriotic protests occurring in the National Football League, other professional sports organizations are sitting up and taking notice.
This week has been extremely trying for the uncaring Roger Goodell and the administrators of the NFL. Last week’s ugly and pedantic showcase of anti-American sentiment has taken its toll on the league’s rating and attendance, and anger spilling over to social media looks to exacerbate the conflict for weeks to come.
The question remains, however, as other sports begin to wind up for their winter season, how will those athletes react to the controversy? Will the populations of Hockey Town and Basketball-Ville stand up for America and those who defend her, or will they too fall victim to the addiction of their name in the headlines as one of the unpatriotic punks?
The NBA has already made it clear where they stand on the subject.
“The NBA is recommending teams address fans or show videos expressing themes of unity before their first home games, while reminding them of the rule that players must stand for the national anthem.
“A memo was sent to teams Friday, a day after Commissioner Adam Silver said he expected players would stand for the anthem .
“In the memo, obtained by The Associated Press, Deputy Commissioner Mark Tatum suggested teams use their opening games ‘to demonstrate your commitment to the NBA’s core values of equality, diversity, inclusion and serve as a unifying force in the community.’
“He recommended an address by a player or coach to fans before the anthem, or a video featuring players or community leaders speaking about important issues and showing photos from past community events.”
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The NBA is a much different animal than the NFL, and as such, the organizations involved in professional basketball have a different relationship with their players.
Given the length and scope of the NBA season, individual games do not receive the national attention of NFL contests, which are relatively few and far between. This, by default, turns professional American football into a spectacle of the fall and winter months, where an emphasis on the week-to-week drama cannot go unnoticed.
In the NBA, however, players are competing for an enormous length of time, several times per week, which creates a difficult atmosphere to make a splash in.