The NBA playoffs will resume Saturday – although a schedule hasn’t been released yet – but not before the players got the league and its owners to agree to certain social justice plans.
In a joint statement from NBA commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association executive director Michele Roberts on Friday, those plans were laid out.
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The league and its players are immediately establishing a social justice coalition, that includes players, coaches and team owners, “focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”
Every team that owns and operates its own arena, will work with their local election officials and turn the arena into a voting location for the 2020 general election. If the deadline has passed in certain cities, those team’s owners will work with local officials to use the arena for other voting-related activities, such as voter registration.
The Houston Rockets announced Thursday that Toyota Center will be used as a voting location for any Harris County registered voter.
The league also has agreed to work with players and TV partners to create advertising spots promoting civic engagement in elections and raising awareness around voter access. These ads will be used in each NBA playoff game.
In a Zoom video conference, Thunder guard Chris Paul, who also is the president of the Players’ Association, said players “understand the platform we have an we want to keep the foot to the pedal.”
The joint statement also read: “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. We look forward to resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”