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NBA Players Use Their Platform To Push For Change

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NBA players are protesting police brutality and pushing for change. Last week the Milwaukee Bucks sat out Game Five of the first round of the playoffs against the Orlando Magic  in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The Bucks’ actions sent a ripple effect through the NBA with other teams also deciding not to play that same day. 

Orlando Sentinel sports editor Iliana Limón Romero and basketball coach and trainer, Dr. Irwin Hudson joined Intersection to discuss the NBA and activism with 90.7’s Matthew Peddie.

“The Bucks have been doing this work for a long time.” Romero said. “They had a player who had a personal interaction with law enforcement that really informed his feelings and his teammates feelings about the issue.”

Romero said with all the players in one location, “the bubble” has created a “team camp” environment that gives them a chance to reach out to one another. She said the combination of large protests over the summer and the pandemic has also made a difference.

“There are fewer distractions, people aren’t going to movies, they’re going to concerts, they’re not able to see live sports events in person. They’re not running their kids around to various things nearly as much. And so as a result, I think those fewer distractions really amplify what they are seeing, gives people a chance to see videos and see protests and see different things and react.” Romero said.

Hudson said as someone who grew up in Mississippi, the protests have hit home.

“Being a black man myself, I grew up seeing things like colored only water fountains and white only water fountains, this stuff happening now it’s really bringing up bad memories.” Hudson said. “This is going to be a lot for people of my generation to grasp.”

Hudson said the players are using their platform to bring about meaningful change.

“With the NBA…there’s a lot more leverage, you know, with the larger percentage [of players] being black in the NBA, that helps,” he said.

“We’ve already seen with the owners, the meeting they had that brought them out of the strike, with Lebron James and Chris Paul being big catalysts of that, they created a lot of change that we want already. Thats what brought them out of it.” Hudson said.

Part of the agreement to resume the playoffs includes using arenas as polling places in the upcoming election.

“NBA sites being polling stations. That’s huge,” said Hudson.

“Having safe polling stations in this year for voting is major for a lot of folks who don’t have access to those small polls especially with COVID going on.” Hudson said.

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