A left-wing organization whirled into political action Thursday in Orlando, working to get out the Democrat vote, fighting so-called voter suppression, and protesting systemic racism. Activists were allowed to conduct their political activities on the job at NBA games played at Disney World. Marching in lockstep with these athletic activists are numerous supportive members of the media.
Resuming play for the first time since a March work stoppage due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the NBA returned with two games. Players, coaches, league officials, trainers -- and even referees -- played activist roles by kneeling during the national anthem.
The cowardly NBA, now totally immersed in social justice activism and sold out to Black Lives Matter, caved on its own rule requiring all personnel to stand for the Star Spangled Banner.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver issued a statement saying: "I respect our teams' unified act of peaceful protest for social justice and under these unique circumstances will not enforce our long-standing rule requiring standing during the playing of our national anthem." Wait a minute! Wasn't that rule adopted just for times like this?
"I think basketball is secondary, it's our job, obviously we have a responsibility to fulfill those obligations, but it's also our job to fulfill and protect our neighborhoods and protect the people who look like us and come from places like us and don't exactly have the same voices that we do what's on all of our minds."
As the Lakers' LeBron James knelt and locked arms with teammates, he wasn't thinking about how to stop Kawhi Leonard of the Clippers. He was sending an important message to Colin Kaepernick, say Matt Eppers and Mark Medina, of USA Today:
“I hope we made Kaep proud. I hope we continue to make Kaep proud every single day. I hope I make him proud with how I live my life, not only on the basketball floor, but off the floor. I’ve been one to always speak out about things that I feel like is unjust. If I’m educated on things, I always go about it that way. So Kaep was someone who stood up when times weren't comfortable, and people didn’t understand or refused to listen to what he was saying.”
Carron J. Phillips, of the Deadspin sports blog, often writes of his support for athlete activism. He wrote Friday that "Voter suppression has been an elephant in the room for Black communities for the past five decades." Phillips is excited to say the least that Michael Jordan is now supporting LeBron James' efforts to fight it in Florida. The Jordan brand, which will donate $2.5 million to three organizations working to register Black voters, said:
"Jordan and Jordan Brand are committed to impacting the lives of the Black Community and eliminating systemic racism and Black voter suppression."
Phillips notes the contribution is a part of a $100 million, 10-year pledge the Jordan Brand aimed at helping “fight against systemic racism” by focusing on social justice, economic justice and education awareness.
James has also been pushing NBA arenas to become mass voting sites, and the Atlanta Hawks have agreed to offer their site for voters in November. Philadelphia, Denver and Miami arenas are also being targeted as possible progressive voting sites. This makes Jordan and James an "an unstoppable combination off the court," Phillips says.
An avowed Trump hater, James said:
"We want to continue to keep our foot on the gas. Continue to push forward. Continue to spread love throughout America. We’re dealing with a lot of racism, a lot of social injustice, a lot of police brutality. Not only in my neighborhoods. Not only with Black people and people of color. It’s something we want to continue to have people’s ears open to. And we have ears now, but we cannot stop with our foot on the gas with what we’ve been doing over the last few months.”
Bleacher Report's Timothy Rapp wrote that NBA players are consistently using their platforms in Orlando to keep the focus issues of social change and injustice by using press conferences to talk solely about these topics. They're certainly not letting these opportunities go to waste by frivolously focusing on distractions like basketball.