KISSIMMEE, Fla. — The 76ers, Indiana Pacers and referees took a knee during the national anthem before Saturday’s NBA seeding-game opener at the VISA Athletic Center in the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex. This marked the third straight day of teams and referees kneeling during the nation anthem.
For the past couple of months, the Sixers — like most teams — talked about using their platform to make a statement about racism and social injustice.
All 13 of the Pacers and several of the Sixers wore phrases on the back of their jerseys to bring awareness to social issues. Tobias Harris wore “Say her Name.” Josh Richardson had “Say Their Names,” while Matisse Thybulle wore “Vote.” Furkan Korkmaz, Raul Neto and Al Horford had “Equality.” Alec Burks wore Enough’ and Kyle O’Quinn had “Hear Us.”
Coach Brett Brown said the Sixers wanted to make a message of solidarity.
“This topic, this attention, this racial injustice situation that we are living and breathing in such a significant way and how it’s impacted everybody, not just the United States,” Brown said, “[we want] to show a level that this a unified message.”
The NBA, its coaches and referees have supported the players using their platform. Brown added the Sixers organization led by managing partner Josh Harris, co-managing partner David Blitzer and general manager Elton Brand, have supported their players.
“It’s not something that we take lightly,” he said.
Brown said the most important things was supporting the desire of the Sixers’ players.