With the NBA potentially coming back, I have been struggling with excitement and some feelings of anxiety. I am a die hard NBA fan. My friends are also huge NBA fans…and a lot of my friends are also black. I am starting to think maybe the NBA should continue to postpone the season because it might be the best thing for our community.
One of most unique elements of this protest moment is the lack of national distractions. Outside of professional wrestling and UFC, major American sports are not breaking into the daily narrative in the same way. Between unemployment and lack of entertainment, the racial unrest is being heard louder than ever. The protests and the voices that need to be on television are finally able to penetrate the media landscape in a way that didn’t seem possible with sports being played. High school sports devour the local news while college and professional sports chip away at every media platform when their seasons are happening. Even on traditional cable sports shows they can only fantasize about Tom Brady in Tampa for so long before they have to return to the pressing story that is the Black Lives Matter movement and the police reform agenda.
I know the immediate push back is that the players can use their forum during games as a means to create more exposure but that doesn’t really work or at least it hasn’t worked in the past. At some point, the camera pans away from the kneeling player and back to the ball. That’s not enough. The national discourse right now doesn’t need to be window dressing for the layup lines. The protests can’t be a preamble to the main event. This movement needs to remain the star of the show.
I think the NBA should sit this out until after November. Hopefully at that point the players will want to visit the White House again.