“The League’s Decision”?
What happened Wednesday night in sports will be taught in the history books 50 years from now. Players from multiple teams in three different leagues engaging in wild strikes and refusing to play as a protest against racial inequality is a remarkable act of courage that won’t soon be forgotten.
What made the protests particularly bold, especially by the Bucks, who were the first to give up, is that they weren’t approved by management. Leagues know who is on the right side of history on this issue and therefore have been eager to approve demands for equality and manifestations of unity. But the effectiveness of these actions is mitigated by the fact that they are approved by those in charge. Wearing Black Lives Matter shirts on the sidelines and putting messages on the back of the shirts is fine, but players realize they need to convey a sense of urgency by taking more extreme measures, and so they did. Actions taken by players are powerful precisely because they are risky. It’s not like wearing one of 29 championship-approved slogans on the back of your jersey.
Make no mistake, this is a player driven movement. Although the leagues have tried to regain control of the situation by announcing postponements in advance, the players are the ones who hold the power. Numerous NBA teams have made statements in support of the postponement of the night’s playoff games, some less vague of others. No one has ruined everything as badly as the Knicks, though.
“The League’s Decision”? The decision was made completely in the hands of the League. This statement completely erases the meaning of the players’ actions. Attempt to frame the postponement of the night’s game list as another example of the NBA’s company-friendly social justice brand. He denies that the players have the power here and that they have the power to force the League to do things it doesn’t want to do.
Unsurprisingly, the Knicks, of all teams, are the ones to spoil the answer. After all, this is the franchise that refused to make even the simplest anti-racism statement after George Floyd’s killing, before finally saying something two weeks later.
No matter what the Knicks say, however, the public realizes that the players are the ones holding the cards. If LeBron doesn’t want to participate in the playoffs, you have no playoffs. A company is nothing without the people who make it what it is, and it’s not the bosses.
Four years later
Here is an interesting coincidence about the protests spreading in the world of sport:
I can’t decide how I feel about it. On the one hand, it is incredibly frustrating that the lack of progress being made to resolve the injustices Colin Kaepernick has attempted to shed light on with his protest necessitates that athletes continue to take drastic action.
On the other hand, it is surprising how much athletes’ activism has progressed in these four years. Kaepernick’s simple (yet brave) gesture of grabbing a knee has propelled the news cycles months. Sit outside a game – a playoff game – is a much bolder step that would have been inconceivable when Kaepernick began kneeling in the preseason. Imagine seeing Kaepernick kneeling alone on the sidelines and being told that four years later numerous entire teams in three leagues would be stopping at matches in support of his message. It’s amazing how things have changed for the better in this regard.
The best of SI
Chris Mannix reports from inside the NBA bubble about what went down after the players decided to stay out. … Alex Hampl was in Milwaukee and captured the reactions of Bucks fans to the strike.
Around the world of sport
Naomi Osaka withdrew from the Western & Southern Open in protest. … Evander Kane and Matt Dumba called the NHL for its inadequate response to the movement that happens in other sports.
Amazing stuff from Kenny Smith and Chris Webber
The WNBA has always been at the forefront of these conversations
Dominic Smith broke down in tears addressing the media
Bucks ship reporter Zora Stephenson stepped forward in the moment
The seven holes in the back of the shirts hit me
A moment of silence in an empty arena is a rather empty gesture
Disappointing for the rest of the Cubs not to be with Heyward
A naked man in Australia was filmed by security cameras while taking a shower in a car wash. … The CEO of TikTok, who was hired on June 1st, is already leaving the company.
“Insurvivable” is not a word you want to see in the weather forecast. Stay safe, Gulf Coast.
Must have saved years of turnovers
A nice song
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