There are many things going on in the world right now, and in the middle of the worst pandemic we have ever lived through, it’s amazing that sports seasons are in jeopardy due to racial injustice and inequality. But that is what’s going on and the NBA has made a loud statement in the past few days, that things can not just go on, but change is needed.
Protesting is not new, not at all, and the most important recent example was Colin Kaepernick, former San Francisco 49ers’ quarterback, who almost exactly 4 years ago started calling attention to social injustice and kneeling during the National Anthem before his team’s games started. The NFL world did not take this well and long story short, Kaepernick has been out of a job for quite a while, despite being in perfect physical form.
Things have been happening for quite awhile already, and NBA teams and players in the Orlando bubble came to an agreement to use positive messages on their uniforms during the seeding games and playoffs; we have all seen the different jerseys with messages like “Education Reform”, “Say their names”, “Peace”, “Equality”, and of course, “Black Lives Matter”, among others. However, on Wednesday, August 26th, after another deadly shooting and riots, NBA players took a stand and decided to boycott their games and just walk out on the league.
Milwaukee Bucks players were the first to make their statement and did not even show to the court, while the Orlando Magic players did attend, but then immediately left, joining the protest. After that, all of the remaining games were cancelled and the league, team owners, players and NBPA held different meetings to decide if to just cancel the whole season, or keep playing and using the games as a platform to reinforce their social message.
World famous figures had an impact on the decision to keep the NBA season alive
Team owners, politicians, Barack Obama and even Michael Jordan were key factors in the final decision to keep playing and, hopefully, finishing the season. As a whole, the league decided that to keep on playing is probably the best way to use their platform to keep pushing their message. But most importantly, NBA reached agreements with every city governor to assure that education programs will be implemented for kids and their families, NBA venues will be used as voting centers in the upcoming election, and a few other things that now have the players excited about hopefully being able to make a real change.
Now the playoffs continue and we’re getting close to the beginning of the second round. Sports wise, even with the bubble, the obvious changes, the lack of fans, the playoffs have offered great games and a remarkably high level of sportsmanship and competitiveness. Let’s hope that things can go on smoothly from now on and that we can see a champion get crowned in the next few weeks. Nut most of all, let’s hope that things get better, and protests are no longer needed in sports.