Kyrie Irving may have been the player to bring the most attention to the fact that not every NBA player in on board with the season continuing, but Los Angeles Lakers big man Dwight Howard has been among the most vocal. He’s previously issued a statement on the issue and recently went on CNN to discuss his stance. Howard has now further clarified his position with a long statement, per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Lakers' Dwight Howard in statement to @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: "Our main objective is to raise awareness and gain transparency…Many of our fellow players are afraid to voice their concerns and are continuing to follow along with what they believe they have to." pic.twitter.com/dfTlSPBwpV
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 17, 2020
One of the most notable things about Howard’s statement is that he made it clear that he doesn’t think the NBA should “halt the resumption of the basketball season in Orlando.” Based on what Howard is saying, he just thinks that players should be comfortable staying put if they would prefer not to play.
He also dropped this strong statement:
Leaders sometimes become self serving and forget the people that they are supposed to represent…We support the NBA but in order to do that properly we must support every single one of us that represents that name.
There’s been no indication that teams or the NBA plan to punish players who would prefer not to play if the season is rebooted. However, there’s always the possibility they could receive backlash from fans and the media. It’s clear that Howard and others would like people to understand their position before they start criticizing them.
Avery Bradley Wants to Solve ‘Real Issues’
Howard has not been the only Lakers player who has been vocal about the issue. Avery Bradley recently came out and stressed the importance of striving for change.
“Regardless of how much media coverage will be received, talking and raising awareness about social injustice isn’t enough,” Bradley told ESPN. “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 in to the works.”
Bradley also highlighted why he thinks sitting out could make a difference.
“The actual act of sitting out doesn’t directly fight systemic racism,” Bradley said. “But it does highlight the reality that without black athletes, the NBA wouldn’t be what it is today. The league has a responsibility to our communities in helping to empower us — just as we have made the NBA brand strong.”
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Is Howard Still Planning to Play?
While Howard is obviously in support of players who want to sit out for the NBA return, that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’ll be sitting out.
“There is a belief around the organization that Howard plans to play, while Bradley’s plans are less clear, according to people with knowledge of the situation,” Tania Ganguili of the Los Angeles Times reported.
Howard has become an important role player for the team and it would be a big loss if he didn’t play. With more than a month before games are supposed to start being played, whether or not Howard plays is a situation to monitor.