In light of the current politically charged atmosphere in the NFL, the NBA issued a memo to all its teams reiterating the league’s standing rule that players, coaches, and staff must stand for the national anthem. A report by ESPN confirms the news.

The report goes on to state that the memo was distributed by the league’s deputy commissioner, Mark Tatum, and its content states that teams do not have the discretion to waive the existing NBA rule in regard the national anthem. The memo also said that the NBA will determine how to deal with any possible instance in which the rule is not followed.

Alternative modes

The sport’s body, however, suggested alternative manners on how teams or its individual members could express their social or political views. The recommendations include coaches and players giving a joint pregame address and conveying a message of unity and commitment to bringing the community together. Another suggestion was for a team to create a video tribute, which features issues that the team cares about.

It is the rule

The memo came out a day after NBA commissioner Adam Silver made a statement saying that he expects players to stand for the national anthem. The commissioner expressed his hope that team members will continue to use such time as a moment of unity. He also pointed out that many players had already expressed their plan to stand for the national anthem, knowing how divisive the issue is at the moment.

Silver said that standing for the anthem has been the rule since he became involved with the NBA and he expects players will continue to abide by it.

Clash with President Trump

The NBA and the NFL have been embroiled in a political controversy this week, following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal of the invitation to the Golden State Warriors to visit the White House.

Prior to this, Warriors star player Stephen Curry said he would vote against the planned visit.

Then, at a rally in Alabama, the US President decried NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem as an expression of protest on issues such as police brutality and racial inequality.

President Trump asked the Alabama rally crowd if they would love to see NFL owners -- when somebody “disrespects our flag” -- to say, “Get that SOB off the field right now…He’s fired.” The US president’s remarks prompted condemnation and protest both in and out of the sports world.

NBA preseason games

The NBA is set to begin preseason games starting this week, so the potential of a protest during the playing of the national anthem at any of these games is a real possibility.