The NBA and National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) issued a joint statement on Friday, August 28, ahead on the playoff, stating that the two have agreed to work together for social justice.
The statement was released by NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver.
The statement read, “We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in Orlando.”
The statement goes on to include the following commitments that the league and players have agreed to work towards:
The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.
In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
Even after the statement was issued, players and coaches resumed their protests.
The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to protests their Game 5 after protests erupted following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on August 23.
Afterward, other teams followed suit and Michael Jordan stepped in to improve relationships between owners and players.
Jordan, who owns the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets, participated in a virtual meeting with other team owners to encourage them to listen to their players about how to move forward.