NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said Thursday he expects players to stand during the national anthem in accordance with the league's rule and because they know the protests have further divided the country.
"Many of our players have spoken out already about their plan to stand for the anthem," Silver said at a press conference in New York on Thursday, according to the Associated Press. "And I think they understand how divisive an issue it is in our society right now."
Silver would not specify if there would be any repercussions for a player who chose to ignore the guideline and knelt during "The Star-Spangled Banner" when the NBA season starts on Oct. 17.
Silver's comments follow President Trump's criticism of the NFL for its perceived inaction over players "disrespecting" the American flag and country by protesting during the national anthem.
But Silver did encourage players to continue contributing to their communities by using their high profile in other ways.
"I'm hoping once again that this league can play a constructive role there," he said.
Silver spoke to the media after the NBA's Board of Governors meetings, which addressed a range of matters like Trump disinviting 2016-17 champions, the Golden State Warriors, to the White House. The Trump administration's invitation was withdrawn after point guard Stephen Curry said he did not want to attend the event earlier in September.