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NBA, players announce plan (without $) for social justice coalition, promotion of civic engagement, and voting at arenas (Barclays not yet on board)

After a dramatic, impromptu two-day strike, the NBA will return today, with a preliminary plan--albeit without a budget behind it--to go farther than #blacklivesmatter slogans on the court/jerseys and a ten-year, $300 million fund.

It strikes me as a not unreasonable outcome, given the forces at hand, including a mix of owners with different political philosophies, and an imperative to not cause league/team/player losses. It's surely less than a lot of the players would have liked, but has moved the needle more than any other sports league.

Indeed, Nation columnist Dave Zirin thinks its significant:
The statement


NBA, NBPA issue joint statement on social justice and racial equality, the league said yesterday in a press release:
FLORIDA -- NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released the following joint statement today:
“We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in Orlando. All parties agreed to resume NBA playoff games on Saturday, Aug. 29 with the understanding that the league together with the players will work to enact the following commitments: 
1. The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.
The clout and funding behind that coalition remains unclear, for now, and while voting and civic engagement are relatively uncontroversial goals, as may be some elements of "police and criminal justice reform," others--such as "defund the police," and its multiple interpretations--will not be.

Poll site?

From the press release:
2. In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.
Madison Square Garden, for which such plans were already in the works, has signed on, according to Gothamist, which reported regarding Barclays Center, that the city Board of Elections "said they are not currently committed to being a poll site."

Stay tuned. Note that the parent company of the Brooklyn Nets, BSE Global, does not "own" the arena property, technically owned by the state, but it controls it, and thus could make it so.

BSE Global has so far ignored a more complicated request, made in July, to allow use of the arena for public school classes and activities.

Note the suggestion, by Flatbush Kloud on Twitter, that less central venues, like Yankee Stadium and MCU Park, be used, since their role would be more important.

Civic engagement

From the press release:
3. The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.
“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community.
“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together -- in Orlando and in all NBA team markets -- to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
This is partly an echo of the first element.

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