ORLANDO, Fla. — All of the players and coaches for the New Orleans Pelicans and the Utah Jazz knelt during the playing of the national anthem prior to the first NBA game in the restarted season.
Players and coaches locked arms in unity while a taped version of the National Anthem recorded by New Orleans' musician Jon Batiste played over the loudspeaker.
The move was in support of Black Lives Matter and the social justice movement that was thrust into the spotlight after the high profile killings of several African-Americans that burst onto the news while the country was shuttered by the coronavirus pandemic.
“The New Orleans Pelicans stand by the ideals of freedom of speech and the right to peacefully protest," a statement from the team said. "Collectively with the Utah Jazz, our organization joins the NBA in supporting our players and coaches."
The NBA has been at the forefront of a players' movement in support of social justice, allowing to have their jersey names in support of social causes. Pelicans and Jazz players wore t-shirts that displayed the words "Black Lives Matter" prior to the game.