The NBA has super-strict rules when it comes to the national anthem. Ever since Denver Nuggets guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf protested by sitting during “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1996, the league has a specific rule that states, “Players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the National Anthem,” NBC Sports reports.
“They don’t want you chewing gum. They told me, ‘Take the gum out of your mouth,’” Barnes said. Once, during the anthem, Barnes ran to the bathroom. “They said you can’t miss the anthem,” he said. “I’m like, ‘Man, I had to pee.’ ‘Next time you’ll be fined.’ I said, ‘Oh, OK.’”stated during T
So the protest in the NBA has to be subtle. Golden State Warriors power forward David West has been protesting the anthem for years. He told The Undefeated’s Marc Spears that during the anthem, he always stands at the end of the line some 2 feet behind his teammates.
On Monday, before the Bucks took on the Chicago Bulls, players stood with one hand over their heart and another on the shoulder of the player next to them.
“It’s not a protest,” Kidd said before the game, ESPN reports. “We’re not protesting. We’re showing unity. There’s not a protest.”
“We discussed it,” he said. “And I think there was a lot of discussion throughout the week … guys have come up with a solution of what they want to do for the national anthem. So I’m very proud of them being able to come together and make a decision and do it as a team. That just shows a lot of growth for our young players.
“I think they’ve covered every base, and I think it’s just showing awareness,” Kidd continued. “I think it’s for [the team] to discuss and talk about because I think it’s really nice of them and special that they came together as a unit and be unified. It just shows our growth for a young team.”
Kidd’s play on words is noteworthy. A protest means that players would be fined; unity means that players get to skip paying hefty fees for taking a stand against police killings of unarmed black men, women and children.
Don’t get it twisted; Kidd has always been crafty with his moves. Like when he was the coach of the Brooklyn Nets and he told guard Tyshawn Taylor, “hit me” so he could spill water onto the court and earn extra time to draw up a play when his team had no timeouts left.
We see you, J. Kidd. This is not a protest; this is unity. Right, got you.