The Oklahoma City Thunder kneeled Saturday alongside their opponent, the Utah Jazz, in opposition to police brutality and racial injustice, Yahoo Sports reports.
What We Know:
- The OKC Thunder followed other NBA teams when they kneeled for the national anthem Saturday in their opening game in the leagues bubble in Orlando. The protest came after an Oklahoma state representative threatened the pull tax breaks given to the team.
Jazz and Thunder all kneel for the national anthem. One referee remains standing. pic.twitter.com/hFMoq9hVNl
— Eric Walden (@tribjazz) August 1, 2020
- “If the Oklahoma City Thunder leadership and players follow the current trend of the NBA by kneeling during the national anthem prior to Saturday’s game, perhaps we need to reexamine the significant tax benefits the State of Oklahoma granted the Oklahoma City Thunder organization when they came to Oklahoma,” Rep. Sean Roberts’ statement read.
- Roberts, a Republican lawmaker from Hominy, Oklahoma, added that kneeling for the national anthem has toes to marxism and the capability to ruin families. “By kneeling during the playing of the national anthem, the NBA and its players are showing disrespect to the American flag and all it stands for. This anti-patriotic act makes clear the NBA’s support of the Black Lives Matter group and its goal of defunding our nation’s police, its ties to Marxism and its efforts to destroy nuclear families.”
- The NBA has a rule prohibiting teams from kneeling during the anthem, though NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said he would not enforce it due to current circumstances. Since the NBA bubble opened gameplay Thursday, only two players and two coaches refused to take a knee.
Chris Paul, Thunder guard and president of the National Basketball Players Association, was a critical piece of the negotiations with the NBA to allow players to wear messages of social justice on their jerseys during bubble play. He proudly kneeled alongside his teammates while wearing “Black Lives Matter” t-shirts.