DENVER — There's a stark contrast between how the NBA and NFL tackle social issues and decide whether or not to give their players a platform that lets their opinions be heard.
One league took steps towards silencing players' voices by recommending they don't protest social and racial injustices by kneeling for the National Anthem. What followed was a clear divide between players and owners with Commissioner Roger Goodell eventually siding with the latter.
The NBA sent the same message in a memo issued to teams before the start of the regular season. Commissioner Adam Silver reinforced the league's existing rule that requires players to stand for the anthem and said his "expectation" was that players would continue to do so even though the rule was originally intended to ensure players weren’t shooting or stretching while the anthem was played before a game. But Silver and the rest of the league stayed united and continued to work together to brainstorm other ways to stay socially conscious, which franchises across the league have since carried out in various capacities.
On a day when the country honors Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and his legacy, the NBA follows suit with a full slate of games. Denver isn't in action today but Nuggets coach Michael Malone reflected on King's legacy and message after his team wrapped up a Monday morning practice. He's also thankful for Silver's leadership in divisive times like these.