OAKLAND -- The NBA has very specific rules relating to conduct during the playing of the national anthem, including no stretching, no gum chewing, no bouncing around and a requirement that all players and coaches stand.
In reiterating its position Friday in a memo sent to all 30 teams, according to ESPN, the league stressed alternative methods to make a social statement, including the possibility of addressing fans in the arena.
The Warriors, who have been vocal in opposition to the conduct and rhetoric of President Donald Trump, and in support of those protesting in pursuit of equality, are expected to comply with the rule, according to coach Steve Kerr.
“We’ve made our feelings public,” Kerr told NBC Sports Bay Area after practice Friday. “People know where we stand. I don’t know if any sort of protest would make it any clearer.”
Though NBA commissioner Adam Silver has consistently urged players to stand for the anthem, Kerr conceded it was possible some form of statement will be made Saturday at 5:30, when the Warriors open their preseason schedule against the Nuggets at Oracle Arena.
The rule states “players, coaches and trainers are to stand in a dignified posture along the sidelines or the foul lines during the playing of the National Anthem.”
Those in violation are subject to suspension and maybe a fine. The NBA office “will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which a player, coach, or trainer does not stand for the anthem,” according to the memo obtained by ESPN.
Michele Roberts, executive director of the NBA Players Association, responded by telling the New York Times that should “any discipline be imposed on a player(s), we, too, will ‘deal with it.’ ”
The last known instance of a suspension was in 1996, when former Nuggets star Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was sidelined for a game after sitting during the anthem.
Former Warriors forward Matt Barnes acknowledged last year that he had received warnings for chewing gum and for going to the bathroom during the anthem.