NBA will remove social justice, Black Lives Matter language from courts
October 9, 2020 (LifeSiteNews) — Faced with a significant decline in ratings, the top boss of the National Basketball Association (NBA) said displays of players promoting groups such as Black Lives Matter (BLM) in the name of “social justice” and “racial equality” will “largely be left to be delivered off the floor” for next season.
“I would say, in terms of the messages you see on our court and the jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer,” said NBA commissioner Adam Silver to ESPN’s Rachel Nichols in an interview last weekend.
“My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor, and I understand those people who are saying, ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.’”
Although not a new phenomenon for the sport, left-wing political activism by NBA players skyrocketed following the death of George Floyd, who died in police custody in May.
Many NBA players have donned jerseys during warm-ups and practices with the wording “Black Lives Matter”and have also been vocal on social media regarding the BLM movement.
Most players have also made it a habit to kneel during the playing of the pre-game National Anthem.
In August, players forced playoff games to be postponed after Jacob Blake was shot by police.
The NBA soon after issued a joint statement with the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) on “social justice and racial equality,” alongside announcing that games would resume after an agreement with players was reached.
Despite Silver’s promise to ensure that social justice–themed messaging from players will be “off the floor” for next season, Silver said “social justice and racial equality” messaging is not going anywhere, as it’s part of the league's “DNA.”
“We’re completely committed to standing for social justice and racial equality and that’s been the case going back decades. It’s part of the DNA of this league. How it gets manifested is something we’re gonna have to sit down with the players and discuss for next season,” said Silver to Nichols.
Overall viewer ratings for the NBA, including those between the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat in the current playoff finals, are well below previous years.
A writer and commentator for the sports media outlet OutKick said in a commentary piece that the NBA “is officially a disaster” after pointing out that ratings for Game Two of the 2020 NBA finals are down 68 percent compared to last year.
“The NBA’s new self-inflicted identity is written in ink. Millions of turned-off Americans associate the NBA with radical politics catered to only a minimal number of sports fans,” wrote Outkick’s Bobby Burack.
“There is no way for the media to spin this positively. Declines of this magnitude are unheard of. Then, factor in the tank-job occurring with the league’s biggest individual and team draw in the Finals — the NBA is officially a disaster[.] … A ship doesn’t sink for one reason, but undoubtedly, politics sit atop the historical tank.”
A recent Harris Poll found that a total of 38 percent of respondents cited the NBA being “too political” as the reason for watching fewer games.
U.S. president Donald Trump has in the past waded into the waters of politics in the NBA, attributing the lower ratings to the league’s “highly political” stance.
“People are tired of watching the highly political @NBA. Basketball ratings are WAY down, and they won’t be coming back. I hope football and baseball are watching and learning because the same thing will be happening to them. Stand tall for our Country and our Flag!!!,” wrote Trump in a September 1 tweet.
Correction, October 10, 2020 08:25 A.M. EDT: A previous edition of this article misstated the result of Jacob Blake’s confrontation with police. LifeSite regrets the error.