Players and Leagues Use Their Platforms to Further Social Justice Discussions
The GIST: Although last week’s wildcat strike of games and practices lasted only a few days, the impacts have long-term potential.
NBA: The players agreed to get back on the court this weekend...with a few conditions. The NBA and the players association released a joint statement laying out three major commitments: forming a social justice commission, improving voting procedures in teams’ home markets and using ad space to promote civic engagement. HYFR.
- Meanwhile, LA Clippers coach Doc Rivers joined Trevor Noah on The Daily Show to discuss forming the justice coalition, and LeBron James honored Black Panther Chadwick Boseman ahead of Saturday’s LA Lakers game before discussing the league’s plans going forward.
- Denver Nugget Jamal Murray began his Saturday press conference by showcasing his custom shoes — featuring Jacob Blake and Breonna Taylor — for two minutes. He then followed it up with an impassioned speech on race, saying, “My skin color should not determine whether I live or die.”
NHL: After royally effing up their initial attempt at solidarity, the NHL made a belated push to join the rest of the sports world in protest. The league and its players hosted public press conferences, and Thursday’s and Friday’s games were postponed. And thanks to the Hockey Diversity Alliance (HDA), the league isn’t getting off easy.
- The HDA presented a list of asks (with deadlines...damn right) for the league, including hiring targets for Black staff and executives, grassroot programs for BIPOC youth and support for Black suppliers. Your move, NHL.
NFL: Without any games to postpone, many NFL teams canceled practices instead and used the opportunity to host team discussions. Players and coaches have since come out to discuss the possibility and impact of player walkouts once the season starts next week.
- Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie, who started leading his own team-wide conversations on racial issues in June, said, “If we have to sacrifice, we have to sacrifice,” and Washington Football Team president Jason Wright (the first and only Black president in the NFL) showed his support for the strikes in a Twitter exchange with NBA star Kevin Durant.