Amen to former GetReligionista's question: Why'd a Muslim NBA player skip the national anthem?

You can take the journalist out of GetReligion.

But apparently, you can't take GetReligion out of the journalist.

Mark Kellner, a former contributor to our esteemed website, now covers faith news as a national reporter for the Deseret News.

This week, Kellner called on his experience as a holy ghostbuster:

The top of the Deseret News report:

He did. Until he said he didn't. Either way, the pregame actions of Dion Waiters, a guard with the Cleveland Cavaliers in Wednesday's game in Salt Lake City, have focused attention on whether or not Islam allows adherents to participate in patriotic rituals — and why initial media reports didn't ask that question.
The game, in which Utah Jazz small forward Gordon Hayward scored a buzzer-beating shot to win the game 102-100, began with a bit of drama when Waiters, coming off a suspension, didn't make it to courtside during the playing of the national anthem.
Reporter Chris Haynes of the Northeast Ohio Media Group initially quoted Waiters as saying he skipped the anthem because the athlete "was just acting in accordance with what he feels his religious beliefs are."

From there, Kellner noted that the Ohio story changed over the next 24 hours, with the reporter citing "miscommunication" between the player and himself and Waiters taking to Twitter to declare his patriotism:

But by twilight, sports fans still had not seen the story's last gleaming.

Or as Kellner described it:

The anthem story spread nonetheless, with USA Today reporting on it and recalling the 1996 case of Mahmoud Abdul-Raouf, a point guard for the Denver Nuggets who decided not to participate in the pregame anthem, citing his Islamic faith. The move unleashed a barrage of media criticism and hate mail, which led to Abdul-Raouf leaving the NBA and playing in basketball leagues overseas as late as 2010, according to an Associated Press report that year.
The cases of both Waiters and Abdul-Raouf raise a question that USA Today sports reporter Micah Peters didn't ask, nor did Ohioan Chris Haynes: are there any tenets in Islam that would preclude an observant Muslim from participating in a patriotic ritual, such as standing for a national anthem or saying a pledge of allegiance?
In a word, no, one Islamic group says.

Trust me, I could keep copying and pasting chunks of Kellner's very GetReligion-esque report.

But since I don't want the Deseret News editors to accuse me of plagiarism, I'll urge you to click the link and check it out yourself.

You can take the journalist out of GetReligion ...

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