The NBA has prided itself on being arguably the most progressive league in major North American sports. Since Adam Silver has become commissioner of the league, the NBA has fought against racism, LGBT discrimination, and more.
In recent months, players have also become more vocal, voicing their dissent towards gun violence and police violence towards unarmed black men. These issues will only become larger after an election that has many minorities worried about their status in the United States.
Several prominent players have recently come out to say that they would boycott the White House if they win the championship. This comes on the heels of others boycotting President-elect Donald Trump’s hotels on the road.
Adam Silver, however, is not a fan of this line of thought. Make no mistake, he is not defending the rash of bigoted and insulting comments made by Trump during his campaign. But in an interview with Mike Wise of The Undefeated, Silver explained why he thought the White House visit was an opportunity for players:
“To me, if a player were to choose not to go to the White House, whether they were choosing not to go to the current White House or a future White House, my response would be: ‘That’s a lost opportunity,’ ” Silver said. “Because that’s an opportunity that most citizens who have a political point of view would kill for — the opportunity to directly tell the president of the United States how they feel about an issue.
“Now, if the president were to say, ‘I have no interest in what members of the NBA think about an issue,’ that might surprise me and I might have a different response.”
The whole interview is worth a read as Silver also discusses other topics such as the lack of African-Americans in positions of power within organizations in a league that is predominately black.
Silver definitely has a point. There are a lot of smart and strong voices in the NBA, opinionated people who are knowledgeable about way more than basketball. Their voice matters to a lot of people and they can use that platform to encourage necessary changes. That said, it would be hard to blame someone, especially a black athlete, for boycotting the representation of someone who has publicly demeaned minorities.
We will have to wait and see if Silver changes anybody’s mind.
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