As the NBA resumed its post-season games after having been temporarily shut down due to the coronavirus, both the league and the players fully embraced the Black Lives Matter movement. Most people saw this as revolutionary, however one organization’s agent said the decision was more corruptive than it was helpful, according to Yahoo Sports.
A recent survey of 20 agents from around the league was conducted in order to get a better idea of how they thought the sport handled the global pandemic, according to a report from The Athletic.
“I think that the players are being manipulated into something that they don’t really understand and I think it’s a horrible look for the league,” the anonymous agent remarked regarding the BLM stances taken by several teams.
“They’re not helping the players, they’re hurting the sport,” they added.
The NBA allowed athletes to wear uniforms with various social justice sayings on the backs. Additionally, every court that was played on inside the Bubble had “Black Lives Matter” painted on it in bold letters. Multiple clubs also participated in boycotts to protest social injustices highlighted by the media. For example, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to refrain from taking the court for Game 5 of the playoff series against the Orlando Magic after Jacob Blake was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, according to Newsweek.
Commissioner Adam Silver stated that social justice messages will not be displayed on jerseys or the courts for the 2020-21 season. Instead, athletes will need to voice their opinions off the court.
“My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy — that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor,” Silver said before Game 4 of the NBA Finals.
Some people have speculated that Silver is looking to change things for the upcoming year due to the low ratings of competitions recorded in the playoffs and the Finals, which were down 20 percent compared to last year. Even with LeBron James, arguably the best athlete currently playing, and the Los Angeles Lakers competing for a championship, not as many people tuned in to watch.
The decrease in interest can also be attributed to other professional sports going on at the same time, including the MLB and the NFL, the fact that there were no live fans at any of the matchups, as well as the upcoming presidential election.
Professional basketball is not the only place where the BLM movement was prominently active. The NFL, MLB, and NASCAR have all taken steps to show support in raising awareness to the public.