By kneeling during the national anthem, wearing corporate-approved messages on jerseys and speaking up during press conferences, NBA players reached an NBA-adjacent audience with their social-justice message.
By striking during playoff games yesterday, NBA players grabbed the attention of the country.
The Bucks appealed to the Wisconsin State Legislature to address police accountability, police brutality and criminal-justice reform. Of course, racial injustice extends well beyond Wisconsin.
White House Adviser Jared Kushner, via Politico:
What I’d love to see from players in the NBA – again, they have the luxury of taking the night off from work. Most Americans don’t have the financial luxury to do that. I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue. But I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive. And again, President Trump in this White House is willing to work with them.
If LeBron James reached out to the White House or we reach out to him, we’re happy to talk with him and say, “Look, let’s both agree on what we want to accomplish, and let’s come up with a common pathway to get there.” But by being angry and brooding, you’re not going to solve any problems.
I’ll reach out to him today.
I’m glad Kushner acknowledged that a privilege of wealth is ease in having political speech heard.
LeBron James has opened a school, formed an organization to help grow and protect Black voting rights and contributed to numerous other philanthropic efforts. Many NBA players have aided the fight to end racism with their money and time.
But let’s not lose perspective: NBA players are private citizens with limited individual power. The league’s majority-Black players are the ones suffering from racism. It shouldn’t be on the victims to solve the problem.
It’s on the people with power – like Kushner, Trump and other politicians and leaders. It’s on everyone to convince those people with power to take action.
Though they have often clashed, maybe LeBron could persuade Trump to take meaningful action. Trump has been receptive to celebrities advocating for criminal-justice reform.
If he’s serious about it, Kushner can ask his friend Adam Silver how to contact LeBron.
Then, it’s up to LeBron to decide whether it’s worth engaging someone with power to help but who also unfairly criticizes like this.