GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Knicks president Phil Jackson plans to meet with his players and try to get a team-wide agreement on what they want to do regarding public protests during the national anthem.
“We want to do something that’s unified and representative of who we are,” Jackson said Friday. “We want to be respectful in its own way to our citizens and people around, our family.”
The NBA and the NBA Players Association have begun working together in an effort to “create positive change” amid the violent acts throughout the country that have resulted in protests in other professional leagues.
Players in the NFL have knelt or held up fists during the anthem. The NBA rule is to stand during the national anthem.
“We are trying to measure what our players want to do,” Jackson said. “We want them to do something that they all feel genuine about. We have five or six guys who are international depending on which side of the fence Joakim [Noah] wants to sit on. So we have a disparate group of guys where some of them are involved in this, some of them are not. So I’ve asked for a little bit of a consultation and we’ll talk about it at some point as a team.”
Carmelo Anthony has been the most outspoken member of the Knicks and the NBA about the outbreak of violence, and has become an activist. He posted his feelings on Instagram, opened the ESPYs with fellow stars LeBron James, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade demanding change, and held a town hall in Los Angeles over the summer.
Jackson said he spoke to Anthony on Friday and they agreed to get the opinions of the other players. Training camp opens next week.
“I think we respect our players and their ability and right to express their opinion,” general manager Steve Mills said. “But we hope as a group we can get past that part of that and actually come together to make a difference with some of the issues that are out there. So that’s the conversation we’ve had with [Anthony] and we’ll have with the other players as well.
New coach Jeff Hornacek said, “I’ve talked with several of the players and I think they’re all kind of in that same agreement that the awareness is out there now and what can we do to further it and actually try to do something about it and make it better. So they seem to be past the stage of taking a stance and making awareness. They want to help. It’s great to see the players think like that.”