LA Clippers’ Steve Ballmer on NBA anthem rules: Players should be able to express themselves

Former Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) CEO and LA Clippers owner Steve Ballmer tackles issues such as the NBA rules for allowing players to protest during national anthem and social media’s influence on the 2016 election in a wide ranging interview on FOX Business’ “Cavuto: Coast to Coast.”

Last month, the NBA sent a memo to all 30 teams, reinforcing the rule that players and coaches must stand for the national anthem.

While Ballmer said that he agrees with the NBA rules, he supports NBA players who choose to express themselves over important issues.

“I support those rules, and yet I think it is a good thing for our players to express themselves and the issues they think are important, because athletes do have a voice they can use to comment and highlight important social issues,” he said.

However, Ballmer recognized that there may be consequences for any player who decides to stand for the anthem.

“It’s really a rational framework in which players can decide what to do. If somebody wants to go against the rules they can, there’s consequences,” he said.

Ballmer, who has invested in Twitter (NYSE:TWTR), also discussed the social media controversy over Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. Recently, Ballmer launched to help boost the transparency of where the government gets its money and how it spends it.

“I wouldn’t say there’s no responsibility, but it’s very difficult to define what the responsibility is. Being able to distinguish people’s ability to randomly express themselves under the first amendment or otherwise versus the impact it may come from foreign governments and other sort of more nefarious activities, it’s very difficult to do,” he told FOX Business’ Neil Cavuto.

Lawyers from social media giants including Facebook, Twitter and Google testified before the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime and Terrorism about allowing Russian-linked accounts purchasing politically motivated advertisements during the election.

“I think it will be important for government and the social media industry if you will to partner to define what really is the responsibility, what really needs policing. It’s clearly not nothing, and it clearly will be a difficult challenge to first define the policy and then build the technology to implement it,” Ballmer said.