As the NBA moves ahead with its plans to finish out the 2019-20 season at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida, there is a growing contingent of players speaking up about whether that is the right thing to do.
Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley have been the two driving forces behind the newly-formed players’ coalition. With racial tensions sparked by the unfortunate death of George Floyd in Minneapolis, some players believe now is not the time to play basketball.
Instead Irving, Bradley, and many others argue the time is now to push for change and stand up for the rights of African-Americans.
The players’ coalition recently released a statement as to their goals and overall purpose to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews:
“We are a group of men and women from different teams and industries that are normally painted as opponents, but have put our egos and differences aside to make sure we stand united and demand honesty during this uncertain time,” the coalition said.
“Native indigenous African Caribbean men and women entertaining the world, we will continue to use our voices and platforms for positive change and truth. We are truly at an inflection point in history where as a collective community, we can band together — UNIFY — and move as one. We need all our people with us and we will stand together in solidarity.
“As an oppressed community we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP [intellectual property]/Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.
“WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!
“We are combating the issues that matter most: We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions.
“This is not about individual players, athletes or entertainers. This is about our group of strong men and women uniting for change. We have our respective fields, however, we will not just shut up and play to distract us from what this whole system has been about: Use and Abuse. We are all fathers, daughters, leaders and so much more. So what is our BIG picture? We are in this for UNITY and CHANGE!”
This is something that is bigger than basketball. Players are concerned for their lives as well as those of their family and friends. These issues have been going on in this country for a very long time and Bradley, Irving, and others want to use their platform to push for change that has been needed.
Whether or not they will still play in Orlando is a question that doesn’t have an answer yet. Some have argued that they can play and still push for change on these issues, but whether Bradley and the rest will go for that is unknown.
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