The risks of heading to Orlando for the NBA campus have been widely documented with uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that’s not the only risk NBA players are considering. Some believe that playing games again will take away attention from social justice reform.
Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley are co-leading a player coalition designed to influence social reform within the league and beyond. Irving previously led a discussion with over 100 union members in which he suggested sitting out the season and according to Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News, he has led efforts via group chat with his Nets teammates.
During those conversations with his Brooklyn teammates, Irving proposed starting their own league.
Irving’s view is not the majority and many believe that playing the remainder of the season is the best way to go, as players will have a platform for several months to influence and promote change.
Additionally, the financial ramifications of not finishing the season would be astronomical. Not only would the players lose salary this season, but because of how the salary cap is calculated, players’ salary would be reduced in the future. Many believe that the players can do more with the platform that the NBA provides and they can make a greater impact if they are making more money.
The league is returning later this summer but the coalition has identified several areas where it would like the league to make change.
Bradley Details Player Coalition Priorities
The player coalition was established so that more can resources be put toward the agenda of social justice reform. Bradley detailed some of the particulars, as I relayed on Hoops Rumors.
Among the priorities is the improved hiring practices for black front office and head coaching positions in the NBA. Bradley also detailed that the league’s front office should better reflect its composition of players. Currently, there are just eight black general managers and just seven black head coaches.
Additionally, which organizations the league does business with and which ones it donates to should be examined.
“Regardless of how much media coverage will be received, talking and raising awareness about social injustice isn’t enough,” Bradley said. “Are we that self-centered to believe no one in the world is aware of racism right now? That as athletes, we solve the real issues by using our platforms to speak?
“We don’t need to say more. We need to find a way to achieve more. Protesting during an anthem, wearing T-shirts is great, but we need to see real actions being put into the works.”
Bradley Calls For Ownership Support
“I agree [the] Orlando [restart] will give the players checks to contribute back into their communities,” Bradley said. “But how much of that bubble check are players actually able to contribute? Why [is] all of the responsibility being put on the players?”
The Lakers guard added that he hopes other owners follow in the steps of Hornets owner Michael Jordan and Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Both have contributed significantly since the death of George Floyd.
“Don’t put all of the weight on your player to take care of the issue,” Bradley said. “If you care about us, you can’t remain silent and in the background.”
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