THE NEUTRAL ZONE
NBA playoffs will resume Saturday after the league and the National Basketball Players Association reached an agreement. Both sides agreed to parameters that include establishing a social justice coalition, converting facilities into voting locations for the 2020 election, and creating advertising spots for each playoff game “dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.”
The Milwaukee Bucks sparked the widespread strikes Wednesday night when team members refused to take the floor for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic. The team was protesting the police shooting of a Black man who lives in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Police shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back.
The Bucks stated, “When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.” The team called for justice for Blake and for the officers who shot him to be held accountable. The team was joined in their strike by athletes in the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS.
President Donald Trump lamented that the NBA has become “like a political organization,” adding that he doesn’t “know too much about the protests.” White House senior adviser Jared Kushner told CNBC that NBA players are lucky to be rich enough to be “able to take a night off from work.”
Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden said on Twitter that “this moment demands moral leadership” and praised players for “using their platform for good.” Former President Barack Obama similarly “commend[ed] the players on the Bucks for standing up for what they believe in.”
The day sports stopped – Axios – 8/27/2020
After the Blake shooting video surfaced, players began to question whether the anthem kneeling, “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts and pre-approved jersey causes were making a difference. Now, they’ve gone off script. And in doing so, they’ve taken the conversation about sports’ role in society to a place it’s never quite been before.
NBA Players Vote to Resume Playoffs – National Review – 8/28/2020
After voting to continue the season, players and league officials met again Thursday night to create a plan to address racial injustice, which is expected to include a push for police accountability and voter registration, as well as support for the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, the Undefeated‘s Marc Spears reported. The Bucks’ strike had far reaching consequences in the world of sports with teams and players in the MLB, NHL, MLS and WNBA also opting not to compete.
Jared Kushner knocks striking NBA players over wealth: They’re lucky to “take a night off from work” – Salon – 8/27/2020
Kushner, a billionaire who took over his family’s real estate empire when his father was sent to prison after pleading guilty to 18 counts of illegal campaign contributions, tax evasion and witness tampering, took a swipe at the players’ wealth on Thursday. “Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,” he told CNBC. “So they have that luxury, which is great.”
Journalists, Politicos Praise Two-Day NBA Strike As Historic, ‘Courageous’ – The Federalist – 8/27/2020
The NBA elected to continue its season after Thursday despite signals from journalists, politicians, and other public figures that the players’ two-day strike was a memorable movement in sports history.