In a joint statement Friday, N.B.A. and players agrees to continue the official playoffs after N.B.A. announced that they will convert some of its areas into polling stations for the November election as is the part of an agreement signed by them with its players.
The statement signed by N.B.A. Commissioner Adam Silver and Michele Roberts, the executive director of the players’ union said that, “We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between N.B.A. players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality.”
This announcement by N.B.A. players came after two days of strike which was held in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday in Kenosha, Wis.
Chris Paul, Oklahoma City Thunder guard and players’ union president, talked to reporters on Friday that “he had never experienced anything like this in his 15 years in the league.”
Paul talked to the reporter and said, “We’re all tired of seeing the same thing over and over again, and everybody just expects us to be OK just because we get paid great money.” He also talked about his feelings, “You know, we’re human. We have real feelings. And I’m glad that we got the chance to get in a room together to talk with one another.”
Paul and LeBron James who is the superstar of Los Angeles Lakers consulted with former President Barack Obama to determine a path onward.
A spokesperson of Obama, Katie Hill said in a statement to The New York Times, “As an avid basketball fan, President Obama speaks regularly with players and league officials.” She also added, “When asked, he was happy to provide advice on Wednesday night to a small group of N.B.A. players seeking to leverage their immense platforms for good after their brave and inspiring strike in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting.”
N.B.A. players and President, “They discussed establishing a social justice committee to ensure that the players’ and league’s actions this week led to sustained, meaningful engagement on criminal justice and police reform.”
First game between the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando will be held on Saturday. It was the fifth game of their first-round playoff series but then Bucks walked out of, urging a wave of work strikes across sports leagues, including the W.N.B.A., Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.
W.N.B.A. teams also took part in strike and did not play on Thursday. The W.N.B.A. player’s union president, Nneka Ogwumike said in a statement that “The action was not a strike or a boycott, but instead a “day of reflection.” He also said that the players’ union was only calling for the arrests of the police officers who shot “Blake and who killed Breonna Taylor, a Black woman in Kentucky.”
The head of the W.N.B.A. players’ union Nneka Ogwumike, said the players used Thursday instead of playing but as a “day of reflection.”
His statement concluded with: “DO SOMETHING. TODAY.” And the W.N.B.A. will resume playing on Friday.
At least a staff of 100 people who work for the N.B.A. league office did not go to work on this Friday to instead focusing on social causes.
An automatic email response from one of the employee of N.B.A. league was, “I am virtually walking out of the office in opposition to systemic racism and police brutality in this country in solidarity with our N.B.A. and W.N.B.A. players,” he also said, “I will not be responding to any work emails. Instead, I will be taking the day to contact state and local officials to demand justice for Jacob Blake and for the police officers involved to be held accountable.”
The plan to use areas as polling stations will only apply on the areas which are controlled by N.B.A. owners who signed an agreement to work with it in order to make it happen. The owners are planning to work on such areas where dead line had passed because of this covid-19 pandemic.
The goal is to establish more polling locations of more than one vote this initiative was taken by the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James and other players to protect voting rights and to increase public engagement, particularly among Black community.