Kyrie Irving Is Leading the Charge of NBA Players Concerned with a Season Resuming Being a Distraction from the Black Lives Matter Movement - Sports Illustrated

SI Insider: Some Players Believe Resuming the NBA Season Will Be a Distraction from the Black Lives Matter Movement

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Video Rating:
TV-G
Video Duration:
2:17

Players like Kyrie Irving and Dwight Howard have been vocal about their issues with the NBA returning concurrently with the issues of racial injustice coming to the forefront of the United States' cultural conversation. 

Video Transcript:

Robin Lundberg: The NBA is set to return. But some players feel that it would send the wrong message for the current Black Lives Matter movement in the country and across the world, most notably Kyrie Irving. For more, I'm joined by our senior writer, Chris Mannix. Chris, obviously, Kyrie and others have expressed that. But does that really change things for the league? Because the counter position is that players could use the platform the NBA provides.

Chris Mannix: No, it doesn't significantly change things for the NBA. I mean, Kyrie Irving was the driving force behind the call on Friday night of 80 plus NBA players. His message was that if we go back to play, it will take away from the Black Lives Matter movement that they would become a distraction that would effectively allow the country in a way to sort of move on. That certainly resonates with a lot of players. Dwight Howard has been among them publicly in support of Kyrie Irving. But the NBA is determined to get back on the floor and finish the season. And while they expect that there will be some small percentage of players that decide not to play, the vast majority led by LeBron James, will be back on the court. So the NBA is pressing forward with coming up with some kind of medical protocols and other solvable issues as they move this thing forward.

Robin Lundberg: Now, you know, knowing that this concern, does the NBA have a plan in place for how to help facilitate players get their message across?

Chris Mannix: They're formulating one, that's for sure. They've been in constant contact with the union about this issue. It wouldn't surprise me at all. As the NBA finalized its plans to include some kind of financial donation similar to what the NFL did when it comes to social justice issues, to have some way that this movement is recognized throughout the postseason. The NBA, as most know, is one of the more, if not the most progressive leagues in all of the four major sports. So they will be aggressive in trying to make sure that the Black Lives Matter movement, that this social justice movement doesn't get lost in the shuffle.