Silver expects NBA players to stand during national anthem

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OAKLAND, CA – JUNE 01: NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to the media before Game 1 of the 2017 NBA Finals at ORACLE Arena on June 1, 2017 in Oakland, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

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NEW YORK  — 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 percent 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.”

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