ORLANDO, Fla. - NBA players will resume playoffs on Saturday after postponing games earlier this week in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following joint statement on Friday:
“We had a candid, impassioned, and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches, and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in Orlando. All parties agreed to resume NBA playoff games on Saturday, Aug. 29."
The agreement includes conditions that the league and the players will work together on the following commitments:
- The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.
- In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
- The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community.
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“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
About 75 NBA referees showed their support of players on Thursday to postpone games in protest of the shooting in Wisconsin by Kenosha police of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man.
They did so the only way they could inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World, marching around their hotel in solidarity and demanding change.
“I have never been more proud of the NBA players,” said Rodney Mott, 23-year NBA referee.
They marched for social justice and police reform, joining the players in taking a stance.
The referees say, on the court, they are usually in a role in opposition to the players but this march gave them a unique opportunity to stand alongside the players.
Blake was shot multiple times by police in Kenosha on Sunday. His family’s attorney said Blake was paralyzed and that it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again.
The shooting was captured on cellphone video Sunday and ignited protests against racism and police brutality in Kenosha and elsewhere.