Although the NBA has put a plan in place to finish out the 2019-20 regular season and playoffs, they have shifted their focus on addressing player concerns regarding whether or not the return is taking away from the real issues at hand.
As the leaders of the players’ coalition, Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley have been among the most outspoken players when it comes to keeping the fight against racial injustice and police brutality going.
While significant efforts have been made to ensure that the NBA shows its solidarity with the black community, there are still those that feel now is not the right time for basketball to make its way to the forefront of the conversation.
Fellow peers have expressed their support for those that have brought attention to the prospect of the the NBA serving as a distraction. Of course, there is also a faction of players that are adamant about the benefits of using the league’s platform to continue to shine a light on the issues.
According to ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski, Bradley feels it is going to take a united effort from players and owners to ensure that true change is being made:
Bradley expressed support for NBA players wanting to use platforms in Orlando to speak on issues of systemic racism, but said his group believes those efforts would have greater impact with “our owners’ help.”
“Regardless of how much media coverage will be received, talking and raising awareness about social injustice isn’t enough,” Bradley told ESPN. “Are we that self-centered to believe no one in the world is aware of racism right now? That as athletes, we solve the real issues by using our platforms to speak?
“We don’t need to say more. We need to find a way to achieve more. Protesting during an anthem, wearing T-shirts is great, but we need to see real actions being put in to the works.”
The NBA has always voiced its support for players using their platforms to address the systemic issues plaguing society today. However, Bradley is now calling them out to take on a more active role in helping to spark change rather than putting the onus on players themselves.
Bradley has also expressed a desire for the league usher in some improvement with representation in front offices to better reflect that of the players. If the NBA hopes to move forward with their plans to finish the season at Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, without any more setbacks, then they will need to show they are willing to gain back their players.