Knicks lock arms during national anthem in preseason opener

The Knicks say they stood for something by standing for the anthem.

Living up to their pledge to operate the pregame ceremony in unison, all the Knicks players and coaches locked arms before Tuesday's preseason opener at the Garden - a display that follows the NBA's guidelines for anthem etiquette.

The Knicks explained the decision in a statement.

"We have a deep love and respect for this country. The United States has given us so much including an unbelievable opportunity and platform to stand up for that's right. Today, our country faces serious issues including gun violence, poverty, equal justice, access to education, and civil rights," it read. "Together as a team, we will stand during the national anthem with lined arms not just as a sign of unity but also to call attention to these issues."

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New York Knicks link arms for national anthem in preseason opener
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New York Knicks link arms for national anthem in preseason opener
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 3: The Brooklyn Nets stand for the National Anthem before the preseason game against the New York Knicks on October 3, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 3: The New York Knicks stand for the National Anthem before the preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets on October 3, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Oct 3, 2017; New York, NY, USA; New York Knicks forward Kristaps Porzingis (6) locks arms with teammates during the national anthem before a game against the Brooklyn Nets at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 3: The New York Knicks stand for the National Anthem before the preseason game against the Brooklyn Nets on October 3, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - OCTOBER 3: The Brooklyn Nets stand for the National Anthem before the preseason game against the New York Knicks on October 3, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The statement also included a nod to the military. The language, in its entirety, ensured nobody could be offended.

"Standing together, by addressing these issues, that is how we honor the sacrifices made to defend liberties."

Not long before the preseason opener, the league sent out a memo warning players of potential punishment if they didn't stand for the anthem. Nobody has tested the mandate.

Locking arms has become a common posture for players who want to stage a mild protest, and the Knicks avoided the word "protest" in their statement altogether.

Joakim Noah has been the most vocal against guns and the current president, and he stood in the center of the team's anthem line even though he didn't play Tuesday. Three days prior, the center hinted he would follow Colin Kaepernick's lead.

"For some reason I feel like things are a little bit different," Noah said. "I don't know why, but I just feel like there's more emphasis on it. Shout out to Kaepernick for that."

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Fans react to NFL players protesting during national anthem
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Fans react to NFL players protesting during national anthem
Oct 8, 2017; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Texans fan holds up signs before the game against the Kansas City Chiefs at NRG Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
ATLANTA, GA - OCTOBER 01: A fan in the stands yells at players during the national anthem prior to the game between the Atlanta Falcons and the Buffalo Bills at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Atlanta, Georgia. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
CLEVELAND, OH - OCTOBER 01: A Cleveland Browns fan holds a sign in protest durning the nation anthem in the game between the Cleveland Browns and the Cincinnati Bengals at FirstEnergy Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Justin Aller /Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Fans making a statement about the recent national anthem protests during a football game at NRG Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - OCTOBER 01: A detail view of a sign displayed by fans during a game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Ravens at M&T Bank Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images)
HOUSTON, TX - OCTOBER 01: Fans making a statement about the recent national anthem protests during a football game at NRG Stadium on October 1, 2017 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Los Angeles Charger fans make their way to the stadium past Donald Frazell from Los Angeles as he holds a sign near other protesters demonstrating in support of NFL players who "take a knee" before kickoff and during the National Anthem protesting police violence outside the StubHub Center where the Los Angeles Chargers are playing the Philadelphia Eagles in an NFL football game in Carson, California, U.S. October 1, 2017. REUTERS/Danny Moloshok
Oct 1, 2017; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos fans show their support with t-shirts in reference to standing for the American national anthem during the fourth quarter of a game against the Oakland Raiders at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Charlotte, NC, USA; Carolina Panthers fans hold up signs in the fourth quarter at Bank of America Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Bob Donnan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Cleveland Browns fans during their game against the Indianapolis Colts at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Thomas J. Russo-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Foxborough, MA, USA; A New England Patriots fan holds a sign as they take on the Houston Texans in the second half at Gillette Stadium. Mandatory Credit: David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports
GLENDALE, AZ - SEPTEMBER 25: Fans hold signs before the singing of the National Anthem before the NFL game between the Arizona Cardinals and the Dallas Cowboys at the University of Phoenix Stadium on September 25, 2017 in Glendale, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
At the start of the game protestors take a knee in support of the movement started by NFL player Colin Kaepernick, outside Lincoln Financial Field, in South Philadelphia, PA, on September 24, 2017. Similar protest are staged around the nation after US President Donald Trump named Kaepernick a Son of A Bitch at a recent rally. (Photo by Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - OCTOBER 8: A fan of the Cincinnati Bengals holds up a sign showing his opposition to players kneeling during the national anthem during the game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills at Paul Brown Stadium on October 8, 2017 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
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On the other side of the court Tuesday, the Nets stood for the anthem in typical fashion. Jeremy Lin drove the discussion, which reached the conclusion that nothing new could be said by an anthem protest.

"We feel like at this point we probably won't do anything," Lin said before the game, according to a report. "Not that we don't believe in anything, but a lot of what we had wanted to say has been said. So I feel like we're just going to stand and at the same time figure out off the court - as individuals, as an organization, as a team - what we can do. But that's an ongoing discussion."

Tuesday's anthem was preceded by a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas massacre.

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