NBA to Paint “Black Lives Matter” on Disney-Owned Courts
The NBA announced this week that it will join with the players union and paint “Black Lives Matter” on both sides of the court in all Walt Disney World arenas. These arenas will provide a venue for the NBA to play during these coronavirus-altered games, set to begin late this month.
While the league is undoubtedly proud of making this nod to racial activism – they are also allowing players to decorate their jerseys with social justice messages – it hasn’t convinced all players to come back to the game. Several players have gone on record saying that, either due to fears of the virus or a desire to focus more on activism, they will be sitting out the rest of the season.
According to ESPN, the NBA’s BLM decision comes as “players insist that the fight for racial equality and social justice be a central part of the NBA’s return to play and the WNBA’s new season.”
“The NBA and National Basketball Players Association are planning to paint ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the court inside both sidelines in all three arenas the league will use at the Walt Disney World Resort when it resumes the 2019-20 season late next month in Orlando, Florida,” ESPN reports.
Sam Quinn of CBS Sports praised the league for the decision to go all-in on the Black Lives Matter movement.
“The movement for further social change in the United States is ongoing, and the NBA has typically been at the forefront of that moment. Now it will join its players in pushing for major reform across the country and world,” Quinn wrote.
While there’s unlikely to be any significant backlash from the NBA’s decision to support Black Lives Matter – or at least make room for the sentiment itself – there are those who wonder if the league isn’t simply trying to put a fresh coat of paint on an old, rusty barn.
“While the NBA has worked hard to raise awareness of social issues at home, there is concern that the league has turned a blind eye to human rights abuses committed abroad — even bowing down to pressure last year,” wrote Sen. Marsha Blackburn in a letter to the league this week. “The actions of the NBA and some players have created an appearance that your league prioritizes profit over principle.”
Blackburn asked the NBA to respond to questions regarding their continued financial entanglements with China – a subject that drew harsh scrutiny earlier this year after the league’s leadership condemned Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey for making pro-Hong Kong tweets in defiance of the CCP.
We’ll see if the league can make those questions go away with something as simple as letters painted on the courtside floor.