New York—On June 4th, the NBA Board of Governors approved a competitive format to reboot the 2019-20 season with 22 teams returning to play tentatively on Friday, July 31st. The Board’s approval is the first formal process among many required to resume the sport.
The NBA season will reconvene in July at the Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, followed by the NBA Draft Lottery awaiting scheduled for Aug. 25, the Draft on Oct. 15, and the 2020-21 NBA regular season likely starting Dec. 1st.
The NBA commissioner Adam Silver has a lot on his plate regarding branding, TV revenues, salary cap, public health concerns, NBA Constitution, NBPA, and the recent death of George Floyd.
On Sunday the commissioner sent an internal memo to the NBA office conveying some thoughts of frustration and empathy after watching the racial discord around the country over the last few days.
The memo obtained by ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne, states his league shares “the outrage” and offered “sincere condolences to families and friends” of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor.
Floyd died Monday when Derek Chauvin, a white police officer, kneeled on his neck for several minutes after he was subdued to the ground. His death has rocked the Minneapolis community and has inflamed protests and riots across the United States. Officer Chauvin was arrested Friday afternoon and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
“We are being reminded that there are wounds in our country that have never healed,” Silver said. “Racism, police brutality, and racial injustice remain part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored.”
Many NBA players took part in peaceful protests around the country and spoke out against the senseless killings of black men, racism, and the social injustices that continue to plague men of color.
Like you, I spent the weekend watching the protests around the country over the deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, and Breonna Taylor. As a league, we share the outrage and offer our sincere condolences to their families and friends. Just as we are fighting a pandemic, which is impacting communities and people of color more than anyone else, we are being reminded that there are wounds in our country that have never healed. Racism, police brutality, and racial injustice remain part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored. At the same time, those who serve and protect our communities honorably and heroically are again left to answer for those who don’t.
I am heartened by the many members of the NBA and WNBA family – players, coaches, legends, team owners, and executives at all levels – speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest, and working for meaningful change. Together with our teams and players, we will continue our efforts to promote inclusion and bridge divides through collective action, civic engagement, candid dialogue, and support for organizations working toward justice and equality. We will work hand-in-hand to create programs and build partnerships in every NBA community that address racial inequity and bring people together.
This moment also requires greater introspection from those of us, including me, who may never know the full pain and fear many of our colleagues and players experience every day. We have to reach out, listen to each other, and work together to be part of the solution. And as an organization, we need to do everything in our power to make a meaningful difference.
Even in this sad and difficult time, I know we can. For our colleagues, friends, and family members affected time and time again by these acts of violence, we must. We always say that sports have often been the bridge in society that helps build trust and empathy so we can face hard truths and real challenges together. That is our responsibility especially now.
I encourage you to participate in the Dream In Color virtual community conversation and I look forward to hearing your ideas and suggestions.
Stay safe, stay engaged, and keep looking out for one another.
He went on saying, “I am heartened by the many members of the NBA and WNBA family — players, coaches, legends, team owners and executives at all levels — speaking out to demand justice, urging peaceful protest and working for meaningful change. Together, with our teams and players, we will continue our efforts.”
Silver, in the spirit of promoting change and taking a turn for the future, added: “As an organization, we need to do everything in our power to make a meaningful difference.”
Michele Roberts, who was introduced as general counsel for the National Basketball Players Association in 2014, talked in-depth about the “pathetic” state of women executives in sports, the lack of former NBA players and African-Americans as coaches, general managers, and executives in the league, and the need for more minority ownership as reported by Marc J Spears from the Undefeated.
Yet years later we still continue speaking about women in executive roles, African-Americans as coaches, diversity, and ownership.
“We, the NFL, condemn racism and the systematic oppression of Black People,” Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement posted to Twitter on Friday.
Black people do not need any more apologies or blanket statements. If the NBA and NFL are truly dedicated on making serious changes to improve their image they have to: 1) Have more black publications gain access to the leagues (Credentials), 2) Hire more black executives and coaches since there are 74.4% blacks in the NBA and 68% in the NFL; 3) Employ more women executives.
If Michael Jordan is donating $100 million to combat racism and NFL star players from various teams have come together and urged the NFL to take a serious stance against racism and systemic injustice then the leagues have a problem they must contend to, that’s something you can not just sweep under the carpet.
It is so much more than a flag, it was never about that but about social injustices, racism, and police brutality from day one.