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Pelicans planning national anthem protest with Utah Jazz for first game of NBA restart, report says

The two teams, who have the first game of the NBA's season restart on Thursday night, are reportedly planning to kneel together during the anthem.
Credit: AP
New Orleans Pelicans guard Frank Jackson (15) reacts with guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker (0) and guard Jrue Holiday (11) during the second half of the team's NBA basketball game against the Denver Nuggets in New Orleans, Thursday, Oct. 31, 2019. The Pelicans won 122-107. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)

NEW ORLEANS — The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz are reportedly planning a joint protest of police brutality and racial injustice during the NBA's season re-opening game Thursday night. 

According to an ESPN report, the two teams have agreed to kneel around the phrase "Black Lives Matter" painted on the court at the NBA Bubble in Orlando, Florida's Walt Disney World. They plan to do so during the national anthem. 

The match up is the first NBA game since the season was paused by the coronavirus pandemic in March. 

Both teams wanted to join together for a "united front" in protest following the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers on May 25, ESPN reports.  

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry and other New Orleans coaches, as well as Jazz head coach Quin Snyder and his staff are expected to join in. 

Multiple protests have taken place since the restart of sports leagues around the country, including in the MLB and WNBA. More NBA teams are expected to show similar displays as the season restarts. 

The Pelicans and Jazz tip off at 5:30 p.m. CT Thursday on TNT.  

New Orleans Pelicans rookie sensation Zion Williamson returned to the NBA campus in Orlando Friday evening after leaving two weeks ago for an unspecified family emergency.

Williamson was tested for the coronavirus daily while he was gone and the team says he tested negative in all cases.

It is not certain if his absence will cause any delay in his playing in the final eight regular games when the season resumes next week.

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