On Friday night, Denasia Lawrence sang the national anthem at an NBA preseason game in Miami while kneeling and wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt.
The players each stood side-by-side with their arms linked as she sang, as they have been doing all season long. Many of them had their heads down and the team has since released a statement saying that they had no advance warning that she would be kneeling during her performance.
“We felt as a basketball team that we would do something united, so that was our focus,” said Heat coach Erik Spoelstra.
“Throughout all of this, I think the most important thing that has come out is the very poignant, thoughtful dialogue. We’ve had great dialogue within our walls here and hopefully this will lead to action.”
In recent months, the national anthem and kneeling for it have become quite the flash point with many people upset with players like the 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refusing to stand.
Kaepernick has been very clear that he is protesting racial injustice and police brutality and many other athletes from all levels of the game have followed suit.
‘All I can say is what we’ve seen in multiple preseason games so far is our players standing for the national anthem,’ NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in New York on Friday, at a news conference.
‘It would be my hope that they would continue to stand for the national anthem. I think that is the appropriate thing to do.’
Heat guard Wayne Ellington had a slightly different take on things.
‘At the end of the day, to each his own,’ Ellington stated. ‘If she feels like that’s the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her.’