The lion’s share of the focus on Monday was on the basketball court, but as Mike Budenholzer addressed the masses during the Atlanta Hawks Media Day, he was asked about the organization’s role when it comes to potential national anthem protests. Here is his answer:
“I think, just like a lot of the things that are happening with players in all the different leagues, hopefully we’ve started a conversation with our players. Not just about what’s happening during national anthems, but what’s happening in our country. We will be incredibly supportive of our players. Our ownership, our organization, myself as the coach and president, Wes as our general manager, I think we want to be supportive of our players.”
Budenholzer went on from there:
“It makes me think that the more thoughtful, the more respectful we can be... if we’re those two things, our country will be better. I think our players have always been both of those things and, however it is they choose to do those, I will and the organization will support them. I think it’s just going to be a continuing conversation and, hopefully, our country just will get better going forward because of the conversation.”
Though Budenholzer did not reveal any specifics, it is certainly possible that members of the team (or even the roster as a full unit) could elect to demonstrate in some fashion this season. It is very encouraging that the organization, led by the head coach, would support this action unilaterally and on a day designed for basketball talk, it is noteworthy that social and political issues were not on the back burner but rather at the front of the organization’s mind.