Obama’s insight regarding the impromptu strike in response to the Jacob Blake shooting has made NBA athletes ready to return to the playoffs while they show solidarity by engaging social justice initiatives.
According to ESPN, LeBron James and Chris Paul led a subcommittee of players who reached out to Obama for insight earlier this week given that negotiations around restarting the season were stalling amidst this latest viral incident of police brutality.
The league found itself in that predicament after the Milwaukee Bucks chose not to play their first-round playoff game earlier that day — leaving their opponent, the Orlando Magic, and everyone else on the NBA campus in Florida caught off-guard by the unilateral decision — in order to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“President Obama speaks regularly with players and league officials. When asked he was happy to provide advice on Wednesday night to a small group of NBA players seeking to leverage their immense platforms for good after their brave and inspiring strike in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting.” A statement from Obama’s office revealed.
Obama was in favor of returning to play once the players seized the moment to work with the league’s owners to identify and implement actionable items to effect positive change, sources told ESPN.
A decision was made and players agreed to resume the season. The NBA and NBPA announced three initiatives as a way of solidarity. The formation of a social justice coalition; a commitment from every city where the league has a franchise to convert team facilities into mass-voting locations; and creation of public service announcements to be aired by the league’s network partners during every playoff game to promote civic engagement in elections while raining awareness about voter access and opportunity.
“We know that voting will not end our pain. Voting cannot bring back those killed by the police officers sworn to protect us. Voting cannot erase the scars of slavery and segregation. It cannot change our history, but it can change our future.” Lebron stated.