• Ted Morency

Ted's Basketball Talk: Black Lives Matter and The NBA Season

Basketball is a peripheral concern given the state of the nation. The IMF expects the U.S. economy to shrink by 8 percent, there are calls to defund the police, and there are peaceful protests in conjunction with widespread looting. Basketball is even a peripheral occupation to those who are paid $7.7 million on average to play the game professionally. Why? Multiple NBA players question the ethics of playing basketball, a sport dominated by African American athletes, given the pervasive injustices that occur in America. They, specifically Kyrie Irving, contend the return of basketball will function as a distraction. The NBA, in contrast, states, “a central goal of our season restart will be to utilize the NBA’s platform to bring attention and sustained action to issues of social injustice.”  

Kyrie’s sentiment—on the surface at least—is logically sound: no attention centered on basketball means full attention is directed towards “black lives matter.” I agreed with his argument until I witnessed the impact of seeing a diverse range of players kneel with their fists raised high and their heads bowed in tribute throughout the European soccer leagues. Efforts to support the removal of injustices using diverse platforms transition these issues from seemingly factional concerns that only impact small populations to ideas that are essential for all of society. These ideas become regular parts of our ideological and moral inventories because they are presented as ideas that are important to everyone. That is to say, “black lives matter” isn’t only relevant to black people and the injustices that occur to blacks affect society as a whole. 

Continuing the NBA season will provide a platform that brings these issues into people’s homes without radical media spin, especially because it will be spearheaded by player-activists like LeBron James. 

You can email Ted with feedback at ddm86@cornell.edu!

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