The NBA playoffs will resume on Saturday following a “productive” meeting between the league, players and team governors in which new social justice promises were made.
A series of major sporting fixtures in the United States have been postponed in the last two days after NBA stars began boycotting games in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last week.
The agreement was announced a day after players, coaches and team governors had a candid discussion regarding the next steps to further collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality.
As part of the agreement, the NBA and its players will establish a ‘social justice coalition’ that will focus on a broad range of issues, including:
- increasing access to voting
- promoting civic engagement
- advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform
Teams who own and control their stadiums will also work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 presidential election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for areas vulnerable to Covid-19.
The league also said it will work to include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the black community,” NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA executive director Michele Roberts said in a joint statement.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
A collective of athletes, headlined by LeBron James, that are fighting to combat voter suppression last week announced a multimillion-dollar initiative to increase the number of poll workers in black electoral districts ahead of November’s general election.
Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That’s why your vote is @morethanavote ✊🏾 #BlackLivesMatter
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 27, 2020
‘More Than a Vote’ aims to recruit young people to serve at polling locations in black communities in swing states, including Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida and Ohio.
Trump brands NBA ‘political organisation’
Donald Trump had branded the NBA a “political organisation” on Thursday when protests intensified.
The US president weighed in after players and teams from the top tiers of basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis refused to participate in games scheduled on Wednesday night.
While President Trump admitted he did not know much about the shooting of Mr Blake, he spoke about the NBA teams’ actions.
“They’ve become like a political organisation and that’s not a good thing,” he said on Thursday.
“I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”