Former NBA Commissioner David Stern oversaw the last remnants of an archaic Association that failed to meet the expectations of and ever-changing United States populous.
Once Stern was replaced by Adam Silver in that role back in 2014, things changed big time for the NBA.
The modern league backs players who speak out on the divisive issues of the day. It’s a more liberal view — believing players can and should have their own voice. We’ve seen this come to fruition with LeBron James and other high-profile figures. The NBA is no longer the league of “shut up and dribble.”
Wherever we stand on this newfound stance from the powers to be in the Association, it’s something that has helped the NBA overcome the drama we’ve seen around the NFL.
In talking about the NFL specifically, Stern himself decided to lob a shot in the direction of Commissioner Roger Goodell and Co.
“Speaking on the Bloomberg Business of Sports podcast, Stern said that public criticism, particularly from President Donald Trump, may be weighing on National Football League owners,” Bloomberg noted in a sneak peek of its interview with Stern. ‘It’s different for the National Basketball Association, which has made a priority of letting players promote and express themselves, he said.’”
Stern himself also took credit for the changing of tides around the NBA.
“As we were digging out of a terrible hole for us — in the late ’70s and ’80s, when there was a fair amount of racism exhibited about players — we felt as a matter of policy we had to promote our players and show that they were real people,” he said. “And it worked.”
Indeed, reports note that a vast majority of NFL owners supported President Donald Trump during the 2016 election. Some — Robert Kraft as an example — are close to him simply because of a personal friendship.
Too often, people look at the surface-based argument that links these NFL owners to Mr. Trump. It really isn’t as clear-cut as that. For Kraft, his relationship with Trump does not extend into the world of politics.
In any event, Stern’s headline-grabbing comment surrounded his belief that the NFL should have suspended Colin Kaepernick the minute the former pro quarterback decided to take a knee back in 2016.
According to Stern, it would have put the entire situation to rest and enabled Kaepernick to continue his career. That certainly is a pie in the sky belief given Kaepernick’s outspoken ways and the NFL players’ rift with the league pertaining to social activism.
Stern likened it to when he suspended then-guard Mahmoud Abdul-Rauf for refusing to leave the locker room for the National Anthem back in the 1990s. Take that for what it’s worth.
The interview airs on February 18. It will certainly be a must listen.