Voices Will Be Heard Following NBA Protest

Voices Will Be Heard Following NBA Protest

By James Wilson

Wednesday, August 26, games across pro sports were postponed, not because of coronavirus, but because athletes used their platform to speak up. It all started when the Milwaukee Bucks chose to sit out their game against the Orlando Magic in protest of the death of Jacob Blake who was a 29-year-old Black man who was shot in Kenosha, Wisc. 

The Milwaukee Bucks are admirable for making this decision. Milwaukee, up 3-1 over the Magic would have likely loved nothing more than to end this series tonight and prepare for their second series.

No team canceled games up until this point, and it was likely not to happen without the Milwaukee Bucks. What makes this even more honorable of a decision is that per the latest CBA strikes are explicitly banned. These players knowingly risked their contracts in the NBA in order to be heard. 

This is a major stepping stone in a much larger movement that breeds the importance, if not the necessity, for athletes to look out for their own communities. Athletes have huge platforms, and when the stars take a stand, their voices don’t go unheard.

The NBA is not a stranger to taking stands on racial justice. One of the most notable events that likely started all of this within the NBA, is the photo taken by the Miami Heat after the killing of Trayvon Martin. The Heat roster is pictured wearing their hoods and it was a simple message. 

Two years later, players were seen wearing shirts that read “I can’t breathe”. This time a reference to the killing of Eric Garner in Staten Island and Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri. Similar displays were rife with controversy when the St. Louis Rams did their part in bringing this story to the masses, they were slammed by the St Louis Police Officers Association and NFL Hall of Famer Mike Ditka.  

What is happening is not new. It's behavior that’s unsurprising of the NBA. It’s a players league and this is currently what’s important to them.

The NBA and the players that make it up should pursue their ability to spread their messages even further. The league has long had a leading role in making a change of the four major sports leagues in America. 

It is clear American culture and the movements currently happening have some staying power, and the NBA is a perfect example of moving forward.