As the NBA season restarts its COVID-19-delayed season, players with both teams facing off in the first game back took a knee during the national anthem as a show of racial unity.
According to ESPN, both the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans planned on the silent protest prior to the game.
The Utah Jazz also released the following statement:
The Utah Jazz are committed to advancing social justice and stand in support of the players, coaches and staff as they exercise their First Amendment rights, and use their voices, their experiences, and their platforms to peacefully express themselves. We are a values-based organization and believe in the foundational principles of justice, equality, fairness, and economic empowerment. Our organization strives to be a unifying force in our communities, and we hope this time in our history can be a catalyst for positive change in a country we love.”
Both clubs were adamant that the teams want to display a "united front"
Coaches with both clubs also joined in the protest.
NBA officials did not enforce a 1981 national anthem policy which states: "players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line."
The NBA season was suspended on March 11 when Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert was the first major professional sports player in the country to test positive for COVID-19.
Jazz superstar Donovan Mitchell tested positive for the virus shortly after.