Why the NBA and WNBA strike matters

Oklahoma City Thunder v Los Angeles Lakers
LAKE BUENA VISTA, FLORIDA – AUGUST 05: LeBron James #23 of the Los Angeles Lakers kneels during the national anthem prior to the game against the Oklahoma City Thunder at HP Field House at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 05, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)


“If you are justice, please do not lie. What is the price for your blind eye?”

These were the words uttered in the most recent movie trailer for The Batman, but I don’t think a statement rings truer than this amongst our law enforcement and leadership. Another day, another black man in Jacob Blake being shot seven times. And this is all during the whirlwind of questions of what will happen to the officers that brutally murdered Breonna Taylor in her sleep.

The price for a blind eye is complicity. It’s silence. It’s filled with “what bout-isms” that continue to be used against African-Americans and minorities when they stand up for change.

The Milwaukee Bucks made the decision to strike and sit out today’s game against the Orlando Magic. The Los Angeles Lakers, Portland Trail Blazers, Houston Rockets, and Oklahoma City Thunder followed suit. Soon after, they were joined by the WNBA’s Washington Mystics, Atlanta Dream, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Connecticut Sun, and Phoenix Mercury. Several Major League Baseball teams also stepped up.

While what many see as an inconsequential game at a standstill, let’s be clear that this is a big deal. Black figures in sports and entertainment drive social media, fashion, and music. You name the hobby, you find a black force behind it, especially basketball. The capital made from these entities come largely off the backs of their labor and production. Just as well as they are told to shut up and show up, those same detractors will witness with their eyes what happens when we don’t.

We don’t have to be cute about the conversation, and that’s the fact the NBA is a cash cow for those who mingle with people who could enact the changes we need. Without money, the executives that get to profit from the NBA lose status, they lose leverage, and they lose money. Besides, time and time again there has been proof that dollars will always be followed, as indicated by the creation of the NBA bubble.

But as Chris Webber so eloquently put it, you have to see it to know what you are going to be.

The sitting of our athletes is what will spark the minds of all of us to demand that black people in this country don’t continue to be used and abused. There are too many names to be honored. There is a whole lot more that we will never know. The hope is that we don’t stay in this place for long and someone steps up for a change. The athletes and people are taking their step forward with peaceful and necessary protest.

Your move, leaders.


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