Pelicans, Jazz kneel during anthem at opening of NBA's restarted season
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Numerous players on the New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz knelt for the national anthem in protest against police brutality and racism before Thursday night's NBA season re-opener.

Dozens of players and staff knelt on the sidelines of the court as musician Jon Baptiste performed the anthem ahead of the game, which was the NBA's first since suspending the season earlier this year due to the coronavirus pandemic.

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Cities across the country have been the sites of protest against those same issues in the months since the NBA suspended its season in March following the death of George Floyd, a Black man who was killed in Minneapolis police custody in late May.

NBA players have spent much of the last month in a "bubble" set up by league officials at the NBA's campus at the Walt Disney World Resort, where all NBA teams have gathered to play the remainder of the season in a protected area minus the fans.

Some league figures have spoken out about the protests in recent weeks, including San Antonio Spurs head coach Greg Popovich, who hammered President TrumpDonald John TrumpUSPS warns Pennsylvania mail-in ballots may not be delivered in time to be counted Michael Cohen book accuses Trump of corruption, fraud Trump requests mail-in ballot for Florida congressional primary MORE's response to the demonstrations in many U.S. cities.

“It’s so clear what needs to be done," Popovich said in June. "We need a president to come out and say simply that ‘black lives matter.’ Just say those three words."

"But he won’t and he can’t," the coach added. "He can’t because it’s more important to him to mollify the small group of followers who validate his insanity. But it’s more than just Trump. The system has to change. I’ll do whatever I can do to help, because that’s what leaders do. But he can’t do anything to put us on a positive path, because he’s not a leader."