The NBA playoffs will resume Saturday after what amounts to a three-day strike by NBA players protesting inaction by the state of Wisconsin and the city of Kenosha to address police brutality after the shooting of Jacob Blake.
After several heated meetings and threats of boycotting the NBA playoffs, the players decided their best course of action would be to continue to play and take advantage of the power of their platform to press for racial justice. The players understood boycotting the season would not only deprive them of the platform they currently have to fight against racial injustice but could also cost millions in revenue and lead to possible cancellation of the CBA.
While critics will write off the boycott as players simply choosing profit over principle, others will recognize the importance of the players’ actions as another step in the growing resurgence in a new national social conscience. Like the ‘Me, Too’ and ‘Cancel Culture’ movements, ‘Black Lives Matter’ and the NBA players’ strike to support it are part of a long overdue and outsized wave of social phenomena the likes of which we’ve never before seen.
The decision by the NBA players to resume the playoffs means the games will continue until mid-September, which means the players will have almost two months to use their platform to shine a light on racial injustice. The strike will refocus attention on racial injustice issues and give players the leverage to find new ways to keep the media and public engaged and promote the changes and reforms that need to be implemented.
The players made the right decision to resume the playoffs and keep their platform to fight for real justice and change alive. Abandoning the bubble in anger and frustration would only have harmed the causes they support. While legitimate reform will still take time and racism may never be totally eradicated, the pace and demand for change is exponentially accelerating with the ultimate day of reckoning coming when we vote on November 3rd.
The NBA players have set an example of social action and responsibility players from other professional sports leagues must embrace and emulate. What’s at stake is nothing less than the heart and soul of America.