In an interview with Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast, former NBA commissioner David Stern said that he thought the NFL should have suspended Colin Kaepernick from the moment he first started protesting police brutality by kneeling during the playing of the national anthem. Stern believes that if the league took that course of action with the Kaepernick situation, the 31-year-old quarterback would have been able to continue his career. The former commissioner also said that Kaepernick would still have a job if he were a basketball player in the NBA.
Stern speaks from experience since he suspended Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf when he refused to come out for “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1996 and called the flag "a symbol of oppression, of tyranny." Abdul-Rauf’s decision ended up being a costly one because he was fined over $31,000. An agreement was eventually reached which allowed him to bow his head and pray during the national anthem in exchange for standing up.
The NBA currently has a policy in place that requires players to stand for the anthem, unlike the NFL. The difference between the two leagues, however, is that the former gives their players more freedom to speak out on social issues without fear of discipline. They can wear shirts prior to games that raise awareness towards a current issue.