Sun | Dec 10, 2017

NBA players should stand for anthem - commissioner

Published:Saturday | September 30, 2017 | 12:00 AM
LeBron James
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver
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NEW YORK (AP):

Adam Silver expects NBA players to continue standing for the national anthem.

Not only because it's a league rule, but because they are aware of what it means in what the commissioner believes is a divided America.

"Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem," Silver said Thursday. "And I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now."

Silver said the playing of the national anthem has always been a time for respect and reflection even in a league where 25 per cent of the players are not American and recalled that many teams locked arms last season.

He wants them to continue showing unity during the anthem but to do it while standing.

"It's been a rule as long as I've been involved with the league, and my expectation is that our players will continue to stand for the anthem," he said.

Silver didn't say what would happen if any players refuse to stand, adding: "If that were to happen, we'll deal with it when it happens."

He spoke following the NBA's Board of Governors meetings, during which owners passed rules designed to prevent healthy players from sitting out games, and teams from losing games on purpose to improve their draft position.

Under the new draft lottery rules, the teams with the three worst records will all have 14 per cent odds to land the No. 1 pick when the changes are implemented with the 2019 draft.

The team with the worst record previously had 25 per cent odds to win the lottery and could fall to the No. 4 spot in the draft. Now that team call tumble all the way to fifth.

The lottery changes were to discourage tanking, the practice of losing games on purpose in an effort to improve draft odds. The Philadelphia 76ers relied on the tactic heavily in recent years and the league felt it needed to step in and urge teams to always be competitive.

Silver felt teams had even begun feeling pressure to use the strategy of fielding poor squads and building through the draft.

The board voted to allow Silver to fine teams who violate the league's new guidelines about resting players. Teams can't sit healthy players for high-profile, nationally televised games, and fines for violating that can be for at least $100,000.

The rules also say that unless there are unusual circumstances, teams should not rest multiple healthy players for the same game or rest healthy players when playing on the road.