NBA games will continue on Saturday and practices have resumed today, but the whirlwind of emotions and protests and postponements has impacted the entire sports landscape and forced the owners to come back to the table and respond to the players’ social justice concerns.
The next logical step is for owners (who control a huge portion of the capital and connections in this country) to become proactive partners in helping the players accomplish their goals
In the meantime, the NBA and players expect to announce a direct plan of action that will include a push for police accountability and voter registration. According to ESPN, the plan is also expected to include support for George Floyd Justice in Policing Act, which is currently in the hands of the US Senate.
Players Want Owners To Step Up, Truly Have Their Back
Getting owners more involved and using their political and financial resources and connections to help support and push through some initiatives that are important to the players is also a huge next step
This is the only way athletes will get change taking a knee with a T-shirt on does nothing. Every billionaire owner make large campaign contributions to local and state federal politicians this is how they get their stadium built make them use that power to create change. pic.twitter.com/eKyjYEXeLX
— Luther Luke Campbell (@unclelukereal1) August 28, 2020
“They can get things moving faster,” said ESPN’s Marcus Spears. “They can get these messages, these voices to the people that can actually create law and create change and that’s the bottom line.
You have boycotts, protests, guys wearing messages on their jersey, all of that is great and all of that is a message but the majority of what needs to be done is paperwork at the federal level. A part of the next step is also enacting laws to protect the underserved and people who are victims of police brutality.”
Players feel like the owners should be active in helping to bring about change.
“A lot of players have been telling me that, they want their owners to step up,” added analyst Kendrick Perkins. These are the same owners that draft you, they tell you that they care about you…the same owners that when they sign you, they tell you hey we care about you and we’re here for you. Well…the time is now.”
“The players want the owners to use their relationships…” Perk continued. “80 percent of the NBA is made up of African-Americans but when they are able to touch their owners and get white Americans with power to speak on their behalf, it sings a different song. And the players want the owners to step forward and do the paperwork and get things done a lot quicker because they have the power to do it.”
But is this even possible when most people with wealth long enough to actually own a professional franchise are not only right wing Trump supporters, but believe in the separation of wealth and race and don’t actually respect the fundamental essence of equality?
In fact, they reject the idea that equality should exist. This is not just an NBA problem, the WNBA, one of the leading pro franchises in aggressively trying to end systemic racism, police brutality and social injustice, also has internal conflicts and political differences between the players who comprise the league and the wealthy, connected owners.
Look no further than Atlanta Dream owner and US Senator Kelly Loeffler who criticized and dismissed the Black Live Matter movement of her own players.
Loeffler is a Republican who owns Atlanta’s WNBA franchise and urged Commissioner Cathy Engelbert to scrap plans for players to wear warm-up jerseys reading “Black Lives Matter” and “Say Her Name” and offered the American flag as an alternative logo on all uniforms and apparel.
Here she is, a politician with the power to help change laws and instead she’s trying to impede the progress of her own players.
“In a time when polarizing politics is as divisive as ever, sports has the power to be a unifying antidote,” wrote Loeffler. “And now more than ever, we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports
Call it a coincidence, but her team also had the highest number of players opting out of the 2020 season for advocacy reasons (Renee Montgomery, Tiffany Hayes).
Trump Soldiers Rep Confederate Flags, Discredit Peaceful Protesters & Victims of Police Shootings
Like the majority of NBA owners, Loeffler has aligned herself and her political beliefs with Donald Trump. That often includes demonizing black folks who speak out against the ills of society and discrediting their concerns.
Most of these team owners in all of the major sports spew the same rhetoric, act totally ignorant to race issues, while maintaining an owner-slave corporate mentality. They are often outspoken or closet critics of the Black Lives Matter protests.
Loeffler made comments referring to armed Black protesters peacefully gathering near the Rayshard Brooks murder scene as a “mob rule.
So to think that these people would join a movement to reverse the privilege that their entire existence is built upon is foolish and that’s where things get problematic. That is the systemic oppression that keeps progress and real change from occurring. It’s a power and a tone that is set at the top. Imagine if every owner supported their players and truly showed concern for their plight.
“My son's psychological well-being is important. He's going to have to fight a fight of his life every day. His fight will never end because of seven shots,” Jacob Blake’s father says. (via @CNN) pic.twitter.com/mErnVJUSzU
— NewsOne (@newsone) August 28, 2020
Why are some so offended when a person evolves and tries to be more than just an athlete? Why is it so threatening? It wouldn’t be unless the owners felt more empowered oppressing these forms of expression rather than embracing it. Dating back to Colin Kaepernick, this seems to be the case. They see it as a threat to their power and control.
Maybe things are changing. The NBA owners unanimously expressed support for the player’s actions to protest the playoffs following the Jacob Blake shooting. Let’s see how they pool their elite resources to not only financially but culturally help move some of these agendas forward and relieve the players of some of the frustrations and burdens they have to carry as front line soldiers in the war for equality.