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The Jim Rome Show: Dan Woike talks the power of the NBA players strike
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While the NBA playoffs will be returning at some point — potentially this weekend — players, coaches and those around the league are still not letting up on what they want to see happen in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Players want league owners to be more proactive, instead of reactive, to racial injustice and to begin making firmer commitments that go beyond monetary donations. 

These issues have now trickled into the league office, as 100 NBA employees based in New York decided to go on strike Friday morning in solidarity with NBA and WNBA players, per ESPN’s Malika Andrews. Instead of working, the day will be spent calling elected officials in order to push for change and continue the fight toward racial equality. In response to the strike, league commissioner Adam Silver wrote an email to those employees supporting their decision to stand with the players.

The letter, as obtained by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, reads:

I have heard from several of you directly and I understand the pain, anger and frustration that so many of us are feeling in this moment. These are incredibly challenging times, especially for those of you on our campuses in Orlando and Bradenton who are far away from your family and friends.

First, let me say that I wholeheartedly support the NBA and WNBA players and their commitment to shining a light on important issues of social justice. While I don’t walk in the same shoes as Black men and women, I can see the trauma and fear that racialized violence causes and how it continues the painful legacy of racial inequity that persists in our country.

Yesterday we had a candid and productive conversation with NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. The discussion centered around how we can best collaborate to address a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for police and criminal justice reform. We will be finalizing initial details and will be able to share more specifics ahead of a statement to the public slated for later today.

I understand that some of you feel the league should be doing more. I hear you — and please know that I am focused on ensuring that we as a league are effecting real change both within our organization and communities across the country. Through the efforts of our internal Social Justice Task Force and the commitments we made, including the formation of the first-ever NBA Foundation to create greater economic empowerment in the Black community, we are dedicated to driving the sustainable change that is long overdue.

We are here to listen and I encourage you to be as open and honest as you can. If you have any questions, concerns or ideas, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me, Mark Tatum, Oris Stuart or your HR Business Partner. We are always here to support you.

Silver’s letter comes two days after the Milwaukee Bucks sent a shock wave throughout the sports world by deciding to sit out Game 5 of their first-round matchup against the Orlando Magic. Shortly after, the remaining two games slated for Wednesday were postponed and all of the players within the bubble held a meeting to hash out what the next steps were. After a contentious meeting, which resulted in the Lakers and Clippers saying that they would prefer to not resume the remainder of the season, all players came to an agreement early Thursday morning to finish out the postseason. 

While no decision has come yet on when games will resume, there have been discussions to resume games at some point this weekend. Meanwhile, the players and Board of Governors held a meeting in which players like LeBron James wanted more action out of team owners and from the league. The NBA and NBPA are expected to put out a statement announcing a direct action plan that would push for police accountability, voting registration and support for the George Floyd bill, which in part calls to “eliminate discriminatory policing practices.”

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