The NBA has always required the performing of the national anthem before games, but this season the league granted clubs freedom to skip the ceremony. The anthem will be played prior to every game with the exception of Sunday games, when it can be postponed by management.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) requires that an official representative of the United States government perform the national anthem before all regular season NBA games. The representative is usually a military officer or employee of one of the branches of the U.S. government who is assigned to play during home games in major sports venues within the country.
The rule was added by then-commissioner David Stern during the 1979-80 season. At the time, only athletes from the American Samoa national team were allowed to wear jerseys with their countries' names and flags on them. Otherwise, they could not compete under their native country's flag because they were considered representatives of the United States government. The rule was meant to bring fairness to international competitions such as the Olympic Games and World Championships in which Americans were denied the right to wear their own colors on their uniforms.
Although the NBA has required that the national anthem be performed for most games since its inception, there have been times when managers have decided not to have it played.
The decision to not have the anthem sung at the game was made by event organiser Bob Kayajania. "The national protocol is the first game of the session where the national anthem is played," Kayajania said to the Bee. "The game after that is just being played."
While most games do include a performance of "O Canada" after touchdown kicks, this tradition dates only back to 1982 when an official began counting down from three. Before then, spectators were given permission to join in with the singing.
Kayajanía also refused to say who his team's opponent would be. However, he did tell the Bee that if India wins its upcoming series against Australia, they will be playing on Canadian soil for the first time ever. The Toronto Raptors also announced that if they win their series against the Milwaukee Bucks, they will be visiting the White House following their season finale.
India won the match 23-20 and so it wasn't necessary for them to travel abroad to play their game. The Raptors didn't qualify for the playoffs and thus there was no need for them to visit the White House. Bob Kayajania is a cricket fan and he probably wanted to see his favourite team India win. That's why he decided not to have the anthem performed at the game.
The national anthem is not mentioned in the NFL rulebook. However, the game's operating handbook does. According to an NFL spokeswoman, the game operations handbook states the following about the national anthem: Every NFL game must begin with the playing of the National Anthem, and all players must stand on the sidelines for the performance. The handbook also states that "if any player refuses to stand for the national anthem, he will be penalized by his team."
In 2017, several professional football players chose to protest racial inequality by refusing to stand for the national anthem. The most famous example was former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick who began the protests during the 2016 season. He said he was protesting police violence against people of color, but many people saw his action as a political statement against racial injustice.
Several other players followed suit, some using their fists to display how they were feeling about racial inequality in America while others took a knee as a sign of protest. One reason many players decided to take a knee instead of standing for the national anthem is that they felt it would send a stronger message if they were seen as opposing something rather than supporting it. However, this has caused many people to question their commitment to their country because they believe protesters should never oppose anything simply because it might make someone else feel uncomfortable.
In fact, some fans have walked out of games in response to the protests while others have yelled derogatory comments at players who have taken a knee or raised their fist.
Unlike Europe, the United States (and Canada) always plays the national anthem before every game, from American football to MLS. All games, internal or international, must be postponed until Francis Scott Key's hymn is sung.
During NFL games, this occurs just prior to the start of the opening kickoff. The National Anthem is also played prior to any NCAA basketball game during time out, as well as before any baseball game when the national anthems of both teams are being played.
In addition, coaches in the NFL and college sports ask their players to stand for the national anthem. If anyone refuses, then that person will not play in that game.
The only major North American sport that does not have the national anthem performed before each game is Canadian ice hockey. Instead, the "Ode to Joy" by Ludwig van Beethoven is played before all NHL games.
Other than at American football games, the song is never sung. Instead, fans either stand or place their hands over their hearts while the national anthem is played on television.
This custom arose after former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick decided to protest racial injustice by refusing to stand for the national anthem. His action sparked other athletes to follow his lead.
It's not a rule; it's just a cultural truth, like team colors and touchdown shouts. Every NFL, MLB, NBA, MLS, and NHL game featuring an American team, as well as every NASCAR race, begins with the anthem. The tradition is strong, and it's easy to forget that it wasn't always like this. When the anthem first began being played at sports events, most teams chose not to attend them. Some even left their seats during the playing of the song!
But things have changed since then. Today, all eyes are on the field of play as one entity: the American flag. As powerful and moving as it is, there's no better way to honor our country than by supporting our athletes. They represent all of us on the field, in the stands, and on social media.
The anthem has become such an integral part of sporting events that when players from different countries face off in a match or competition, they're given the opportunity to be recognized either before or after the game starts. This is called the pre-game ceremony or post-game tribute. It allows these individuals to set aside their differences and come together as one group, taking time out of their busy schedules to show their respect for America and its citizens who support them abroad.
In addition to honoring our athletes, these ceremonies serve to unite us all as one nation. Without question, the national anthem is one of the most powerful songs in the world.