This year started off pretty messy; well, it’s about to get even messier for basketball fans.
The LA Lakers and Clippers voted against finishing the season during a conference on Aug. 26. The conference was held because all six of the National Basketball Association (NBA) teams boycotted the games to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake. The boycotts began soon after the Milwaukee Bucks decided to not go to the game against the Orlando Magic during the week when Blake was shot.
Although it would be unfortunate for playoffs to be canceled, individuals need to understand the severity of what is going on in the United States. Currently, protests are being held to advocate for the Black Lives Matter movement and the majority of NBA players including Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Kevin Durant and Quinn Cook are also using their huge platform on social media to spread awareness, they have constantly been posting on their stories and sharing information through their posts and tweets.
Additionally, players wore jerseys with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” during their games including the Lakers, New Orleans Pelicans, and Utah Jazz. A majority of their fans supported their decision; however, there were still others who criticized the players and the league for politicizing basketball. While the NBA has decided not to end the season early, the organization is stuck with a difficult decision. With major teams deciding not to play, this creates a detrimental impact on viewership and revenue for the association.
Nevertheless, voting to end the season early would showcase to people across the nation that these NBA players are not fooling around and are frustrated that their black brothers and sisters are being harmed by police. And, we have already seen the impact of the player’s actions. The Lakers and Clippers’ decisions of not playing have led to the results of games being postponed. With NBA’s fanbase, the sports players also have an influence over a large audience, which creates opportunities for a wider spread of awareness for the issues they are championing.
Of course, there were many individuals who were upset and believed the sacrifice of their entertainment was unnecessary. But, without taking serious action, individuals would still choose to not pay much attention to some of the serious issues in the US.
For many years, athletes have used their platforms to speak out about racial injustice and other immoral situations. Similarly, in 2014, players wanted to boycott the organization due to racism within the league itself. The ex-owner of the Clippers, Donald Sterling, made vulgar and racist comments and many NBA players were furious.
Likewise, in 2014, the Clippers were planning to walk off the court during Game 5 of the Western Conference playoffs against the Golden States Warriors to express their anger. Players from both teams expressed their opinions and demanded that Sterling would get banned from the NBA and Sterling did get banned shortly.
This indicates how powerful the actions of sports professionals can be; although a mere jersey may seem to be performative activism, these individuals are supporting their beliefs in their own ways. Rather than fixating on how canceled games will not directly solve nationwide social conflicts, individuals should consider that these players are taking the right steps to fight injustice.
NBA teams and players voting to end the season early is a wake-up call for those fans who stayed ignorant throughout this year and turned their backs on the innocent lives lost due to police brutality. Hopefully, these players’ actions can open people’s perspectives and let them truly see the discrimination Black people face in the United States.