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NBA, NBPA Preparing for Anthem Protests

Jason Scott

Colin Kaepernick’s continued demonstration during the national anthem has picked up momentum. Beyond other NFL players, the protests have picked up supporters at the high school level and have even crossed into other sports.

The NBA, which begins its regular season in October, expects that its own players will want to take part. ESPN.com reports that the league is working with the National Basketball Players Association to discuss how best to handle such situations.

Related: Other Players Join Kaepernick's Anthem Protest

In a joint letter sent to all players on Wednesday, league commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts pledged to work toward ways to “come together and take meaningful action.”

“These ideas are based on the actions many of you have already taken or supported, including convening community conversations in NBA markets to engage young people, parents, community leaders and law enforcement in a candid dialogue,” the letter reads.

Unlike the NFL, the NBA has an established rule that players must stand during the national anthem. Under the rule, Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf was suspended in the 1990s for protesting. Sources told ESPN that the league would not change that rule.

Several WNBA players have kneeled during the anthem in recent weeks. On Wednesday, the entire Indiana Fever team took a knee during the anthem prior to a playoff game.

If NBA players do take part in some kind of protest or demonstration, it wouldn't be the first time. Last season, several players across the league violated uniform rules when they wore shirts with the phrase "I Can't Breathe" following the death of Eric Garner. They were not fined for breaking that rule.

Related: Despite Fines, WNBA Players Committed to Activism

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