While the NBA is forging ahead with a plan to play on July 31, a group of players led by Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley are hoping to get their voices heard.
Irving led a call last week of about 80 NBA players where they discussed the possibility of sitting out the resumption of the season to focus on social issues that have plagued the black community for years. The coalition of players released a statement via ESPN earlier this week in hopes to enact some change in and around the league.
"As an oppressed community we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP/Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to 'protect and serve' us," the coalition said in a statement.
"We have had enough!"
A coalition of NBA players including Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley and more are pursuing further examination of the NBA's plan to restart the season in Orlando.- ESPN (@espn) June 15, 2020
(via @wojespn, @malika_andrews) https://t.co/GbIfjetZQr pic.twitter.com/ZYxPo6LCdS
While some NBA players believe that playing games and using their platform in Orlando may be their best option to be heard, the coalition is still waiting to hear from the league on how it plans to handle issues of importance to the black community before they begin play.
Bradley laid out several areas he'd like to take a look at to ESPN earlier in the week. Among them are improved hiring protocols for the league's management to reflect the composition of its players, donations to organizations that serve in black communities and partnerships with black-owned businesses.
"Regardless of how much media coverage will be received, talking and raising awareness about social injustice isn't enough," Bradley told ESPN's Malika Andrews and Adrian Wojnarowski. "Are we that self-centred to believe no one in the world is aware of racism right now?
"That, as athletes, we solve the real issues by using our platforms to speak? We don't need to say more.
"We need to find a way to achieve more. Protesting during an anthem, wearing T-shirts is great, but we need to see real actions being put in to the works."
The league and NBPA have had discussions about how they can work together to address social issues but no plans have been cemented.
The NBPA released a statement on Wednesday re-affirming their commitment to help promote change.
"Since the Union's inception, the members of the NBPA have, individually and collectively, utilized their platforms to advocate for and promote positive social change," the NBPA said in a release. "The courage and commitment of our members - past and present - have provided a voice for and opened avenues towards the pursuit of justice for aggrieved and socially disenfranchised members of communities across this country and around the world.
"We are here to protect, support and amplify our members and their voices. We remain committed to that mission as players continue to use their platforms to fight for justice in their local communities, across the country and around the world."
So what happens now? It seems that all sides involved want the same things. The league, the NBPA and the coalition led by Irving and Bradley all want to promote and help change, meaningful change that will last a lifetime.
Bradley says the players shouldn't be the only ones trying to make money to give back to their communities, he's asking for those who have more capital then them - mainly the league's 30 owners - to also invest in programs that could help real social change.
"I agree (the) Orlando (restart) will give the players checks to contribute back into their communities," Bradley continued. "But how much of that bubble check are players actually able to contribute? Why (is) all of the responsibility being put on the players?"
"Don't put all of the weight on your player to take care of the issue.
"If you care about us, you can't remain silent and in the background."