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Hawks want all fans to lock arms during national anthem

Atlanta Hawks Media Day

ATLANTA, GA - SEPTEMBER 26: Dwight Howard #8 of the Atlanta Hawks poses during media day on September 26, 2016 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

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There are shortcomings with how arm-in-arm NBA players have demonstrated during the national anthem.

Dwight Howard and the Hawks want to do something more meaningful.

Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution:

After an hour-long team discussion following practice on Tuesday, the Hawks had the idea for all those in attendance at regular-season home games to join them and lock arms. The gesture possibly could begin with the team’s first home exhibition game against the Cavaliers on Monday. The contest has already been labeled a Unity Game to celebrate Atlanta’s multicultural groups and diversity.

“We want to start it here in Atlanta,” said Dwight Howard, who teammates credited with the idea. “It could be something really good here to show that as a city Atlanta is unified no matter what color, race, religion that you are. When you come to these games, we want to show that we are unified and we are together. The guys are going to compete on the floor. But before the games, we still want to pay homage to all those who died to fight for our country but at the same time we want to show that we are unified. We want everybody who is at the arena to show respect to each other. That’s where it starts. If we can start as a country respecting each other just by simple gestures, locking arms, saying that we are together things can hopefully change for the better. I think that will be a good start for us.”

This is definitely a step in the right direction, because it clearly signals to the viewing public that the team is calling attention to something – in this case, unity.

But unify to what end?

Nearly everyone wants the country to come together – but mostly on their terms. People who believe showing more reverence to the police would fix everything will lock arms with people who believe the police showing more restraint would fix everything, and both sets of people will expect the other to come to their side.

Togetherness is a noble goal, and if that’s what the Hawks feel comfortable promoting, more power to them. But don’t mistake this for the more courageous and meaningful stance Colin Kaepernick is taking.