Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Lakers Lock Arms During National Anthem
Members of the Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets lock arms during the National Anthem. (Photo: @RadioKoz on Twitter)
To do what they believe is their part in sending a message about racial injustice in the United States, members of the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Lakers locked arms during the National Anthem on Friday night.
The two teams, who were playing a preseason game at Staples Center on the Lakers' home floor, stood together and linked arms on Friday night, while the National Anthem was playing.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick caused controversy two months ago, when media noticed him sitting out the anthem before games in the NFL preseason. When he was asked why after his third week doing it, he explained that he felt the United States was not protecting black Americans from police brutality. He added that the country also wasn't doing enough to help veterans who came home after risking their lives overseas.
He later decided to take a knee during the anthem instead of simply sitting on the bench, but other players around the NFL began to follow suit, both during the preseason and during this first third of the NFL season. Women's soccer player Megan Rapinoe also knelt during the anthem.
Teams in the WNBA protested as well. During their pre-game warm-ups, members of the New York Liberty wore black t-shirts that read "#BlackLivesMatter" to honor Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, and shirts that read "#Dallas5" to honor the five Dallas police officers killed in an attack on July 7. The Minnesota Lynx wore shirts that said “Change starts with us. Justice & accountability,” along with the names of Sterling and Castile, the logo of the Dallas Police Department, and the phrase “Black Lives Matter.” Players of the Liberty, the Phoenix Mercury, and Indiana Fever wore all black adidas t-shirts. WNBA players were fined, before the league rescinded the penalties.
The Seattle Seahawks drew criticism for locking arms instead of kneeling, with the team being accused of riding the fence and being inoffensive instead of taking a true stand against the issues Kaepernick brought up.
But it's been an action of choice so far during the NBA preseason, with members of the Toronto Raptors, New York Knicks, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics, Washington Wizards and Sacramento Kings all using the approach, according to Bleacher Report. Unlike in the NFL, where Kaepernick and other players' protests don't break the rules, the NBA 2015-16 rulebook directly states that players must "stand and line up in a dignified posture" for the anthem.