INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — You won’t see your Indiana Pacers kneeling during the national anthem.
That’s unlike NFL teams across the country, including the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday night. That’s because, currently, the NBA has a policy in place; the NFL doesn’t.
The NBA says all players must stand during the national anthem. But will that policy hold up in today’s political climate? That’s a hot topic among players and their leaders.
Cameras were flashing, capturing the players off the court having a little fun. On Monday, the Pacers got a little break from basketball for Media Day. But there’s something even bigger that is shifting their focus off the game.
“I thought it was great. I thought the guys really did what they thought was right. They feel like there is a problem and it needs to be addressed and they did what they believe in,” said Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.
Oladipo is referring to the Colts and other NFL teams allowing their players to kneel during the national anthem in protest of inequality, especially among African-Americans.
“I think the best thing to do is try to communicate what you want to do. Stand up for what you believe in, and hopefully it’s the right thing to do,” said guard Darren Collison.
Back in 1996, the NBA felt the right thing to do was require players to stand. The league suspended Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf, who would not stand due to his Muslim faith. However, fast-forward more than 20 years. Pacers president Kevin Pritchard said he empowers his players and wants them to be socially active.
“Give them the right voice and if that’s the way they want to do it, that’s the way they want to do it. But it’s so much better as a peaceful demonstration than anything else. Because our guys care and they want to show that they care,” Pritchard said.
So, as the discussion rolls on, so does the game.
“Right now, I’m worrying about my team and helping get ready for the season,” said forward Lance Stephenson.