Sources: NBA referees to join players kneeling during national anthem in show of support

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — NBA referees will join the players and coaching staff in gathering around the “Black Lives Matter” signage on the court to kneel during the playing of the national anthem to peacefully protest racial injustice in America, league sources tell Yahoo Sports.

The 45 referees selected by the league to officiate the restart recently had a “spirited” debate on whether to insert themselves into the storylines and it was decided that they wanted to support the players as well as the officials who have experienced racial injustice, sources say.

All four teams playing Thursday on the first day of the restart — Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers, Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans — will participate in the demonstration, sources say.

Not all players from Thursday’s two games agreed to unite in the demonstration for varying reasons and will instead be elsewhere during the anthem, sources say.

There are players on other teams seeking advice from teammates and still weighing the pros and cons of kneeling with their basketball brethren, sources say.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver said players will not be penalized for peacefully protesting.

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