Toronto Raptors Bring 'Black Lives Matter' Anthem Protest To Canada

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VANCOUVER — The Toronto Raptors locked arms during the national anthems prior to Saturday's pre-season game against the Golden State Warriors.

Players and staff stood arm in arm during both the "Star-Spangled Banner'' and "O Canada,'' with some bowing their heads.

The Raptors said earlier this week that they planned to join the growing chorus of pro athletes speaking out against police brutality and racial injustice in the United States.

San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick has refused to stand for the U.S. anthem, a protest that has spread across the NFL.

toronto raptors demar derozan kyle lowry
Toronto Raptors guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry pose for pictures during media day at BioSteel Centre. (Photo: Dan Hamilton/USA Today Sports via Reuters)

The NBA has a rule that players and coaches must stand during the national anthems, although the rule wasn't mentioned in a recent letter to players.

Players and staff from Golden State stood at the opposite end of the floor during Saturday's anthems, but didn't appear to be taking part in any type of protest.

Raptors head coach Dwane Casey said prior to the game that his team had a number of conversations about the issue and their response.

"Guys were real, guys had sincere feelings, sincere thoughts, sincere things to talk about and concerns,'' said Casey. "That's what all this should be about " to induce conversation.''

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