Both NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and and NBAPA executive director Michelle Roberts are encouraging NBA players to be more vocal on social issues.
The two co-signed on a letter to the players, asking them to be even more outspoken.
“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly,” the letter said, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. “Fortunately, you are not only the world’s greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference.”
This is an interesting request. Prior to Colin Kaepernick (and subsequent players after) kneeling during the National Anthem, NBA’s players were generally considered the most socially active of all of the sports — especially team sports.
While President Donald Trump has yet to extend an invitation, prominent members of the Golden State Warriors have made it clear that they have no interest in visiting him for the traditional championship White House visit. Prominent NBA stars (LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Dwyane Wade, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul) have all been outspoken on various social issues, including some that don’t particularly pertain to President Trump.
By comparison, most of the NFL’s outspoken players are nowhere near as high profile as any of the aforementioned NBA stars and they certainly weren’t before any National Anthem protests.
Obviously, being socially aware is more than just speaking out about gun violence, or endorsing a particular candidate. But it would be interesting to know if Silver and Roberts had any specific ideas in mind, or it’s just more of a general desire.