NBA Athletes Fight for Social Justice
by Brisa M
On August 23, Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old father of six, was shot in the back seven times, now paralyzed from his injuries. After learning of Jacob Blake’s tragedy, another man on the lengthy list of people of color brutalized by law, NBA players were quick to take action. Last-minute, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to go on the court against Orlando Magic. Why did these athletes refuse to play? Another act of police violence against a Black person must be protested, in spite of the costs:
“NBA players are potentially putting millions of dollars on the line if the season doesn’t resume. Some of the league’s biggest stars can afford to take that risk; some in the lower ranks can’t” Bleacher Report reported. It is a risk the athletes agree to take because they are willing to make changes for the future of the country and humanity.
As if right now, it is too early to predict if games will resume in a few days or if the strike would end the season. The athletes are not convinced that just refusing to play, on its own, would combat racism. Players keep trying to create change and nothing else has worked. Hence, these athletes, without a doubt, are going to be written about in the history books, by making a tremendous statement.
30 teams recently donated $300 million in support for economic empowerment for black communities. Also, the NBA agreed to not enforce players stand for the national anthem. Many players have done their best to work to enact change. They have been actively vocal on social media about police brutality victims (Breonna Taylor, Elijah McClain, George Floyd, and now Jacob Blake, amidst many others.) They have also spoken about other societal dilemmas.
Practically every day, either a coach or a player has made a plea for change that has been shared on social media, tweeted, and reported. Doc Rivers spoke on the police shooting of Jacob Blake. “It’s amazing to me why we keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back. … If you watch that video, you don’t need to be black to be outraged. You need to be an American and outraged.” From a billion-dollar corporation, people would expect more, but their solutions to the sportsmen’s concerns are slogans on courts and jerseys.
Even if the season finishes, what is understood is that from the players’ point of view, the aspirations to fight for a better life for their kids, for themselves and people who are Black throughout the country is not just talk. These athletes are ready to risk it all. What do the owners care about more? The league’s everlasting legacy to hear and understand them or about their short-term cash?