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With teams striking for racial justice, the NBA at a crossroads, with more pressure on team owners; league's $300M pledge is $1M/team over ten years

NY Daily News front
It's unprecedented, as the Nation's Dave Zirin wrote last night, in The Milwaukee Bucks and Brewers Strike for Racial Justice:
This is without precedent in the history of sports: The Milwaukee Bucks, arguably the best team in the NBA, have gone on strike, refusing to leave the locker room for game five of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic. Their decision stopped the sports world on a dime, and shortly after the news, the Milwaukee Brewers announced that the team would also skip tonight’s MLB game. The Brewers and Bucks are refusing to play in solidarity with the demand for justice for Jacob Blake, who was shot in the back seven times over the weekend by police in nearby Kenosha.
That led to cancelling the other NBA games yesterday, and a ripple effect throughout professional sports.

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Wrote Zirin:
These are not the first athletes in history to point out the gap between how Black athletes are loved on the field and how they are treated off of it. The slogan of the 1968 Olympic Project for Human Rights was “Why should we run in Mexico City only to crawl home?” Bill Russell and the Celtics were a part of sitting out a game in Lexington, Ky., along with the St. Louis Hawks in the early 1960s in protest of the city’s treatment of black players.
Season on the brink

The Athletic reported last night, in Sources: Lakers, Clippers vote to stop NBA season in emotional meeting, that the whole season might end and "bring an $8 billion industry to the brink of chaos."

NY Daily News back
That said, only those two Los Angeles teams voted to end the season, while even the Milwaukee Bucks voted to continue. Today's games are expected to not be played, while a meeting of the Board of Governors is planned for 11 a.m.

Pressure on the owners (aka governors)

From the article:
Sources said LeBron said he wanted more action from owners on racial justice matters; it’s possible the owners could put together an action plan that convinces the two L.A. teams to stay and play. The Bucks want the Wisconsin state legislature to convene and pass stricter safety protocols for police to follow.
For example, the owners could agree to fund political advertisements or even campaigns for candidates who would support the players’ causes.
Another suggestion: move the teams?
Daily News reporter/columnist Winfield, in The NBA must prove it cares about Black lives, not Black genes, last night invoked an outspoken Brooklyn Net:
This was the issue all along, and Nets star Kyrie Irving said it first: Resuming basketball would take the attention off of the police killings of unarmed Black men and women. That message was dismissed, and NBA puppets painted Irving as a disruptor, a distraction, a powerless voice whose words held no weight.
Now, another unarmed Black man is all-but dead. Who was really the distraction? Whose words truly should be dismissed?
He wrote:
NY Post front
Even Bucks guard Sterling Brown was also the subject of racial profiling in the city he plays. In July, Brown penned an essay in The Players’ Tribune, detailing his experience with a group of Milwaukee police officers that took him to the ground, kneeled on his neck, tased and arrested him in a drugstore parking lot. The first officer who approached Brown believed he should have used additional force. And it was all over a mere parking violation.
Here’s an adequate punishment for a city that does not protect the Black community: Relocate the franchise and the jobs it creates.
That, of course, would be complicated.


New pressure on team ownership

But there is a lot of pressure on team owners, some of whom are more progressive than others.

The NBA, in partnership with the National Basketball Players Association, on 8/5/20 announced a $300 million fund, involving $10 million from each team, over ten years:
Over the next 10 years, the 30 NBA team owners will collectively contribute $30 million annually to establish a new, leaguewide charitable foundation. Through its mission to drive economic empowerment for Black communities through employment and career advancement, the NBA Foundation will seek to increase access and support for high school, college-aged and career-ready Black men and women, and assist national and local organizations that provide skills training, mentorship, coaching and pipeline development in NBA markets and communities across the United States and Canada
Well, $300 million is a lot of money, but, broken down, $1 million a year per team seems like a relatively small figure.

Separately, Joe and Clara Wu Tsai, whose BSE Global owns/operates the Brooklyn Nets, New York Liberty, and Barclays Center, two days ago, in a Social Justice Commitment Statement, announced "$50 million over 10 years for social justice initiatives and community investments that will benefit the BIPOC (especially Black) community, with a priority on Brooklyn." 

That's $5 million a year--more significant, understandably designated for "pilots and programs that are scalable."

In Brooklyn
That's also the message on the Brooklyn Nets homepage.

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