As more professional athletes take a stand for social issues that plague minority communities around the country, the NBA is encouraging its players to do the same.
Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA Players Association Executive Director Michele Roberts co-signed a letter pushing for social awareness among players, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski:
“None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly,” the letter reads. “Fortunately, you are not only the world's greatest basketball players — you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference."
The NBA’s letter to players comes as the NFL struggles to accept its own players’ forms of social activism, including Colin Kaepernick’s decision to kneel during the national anthem last season.
Milwaukee Bucks guard and University of Virginia alum Malcolm Brogdon spoke out after white nationalists and neo-Nazis gathered to protest the removal of a confederate statue in Charlottesville, Va. LeBron James also voiced his disappointment on Twitter after the protest:
It's sad what's going on in Charlottesville. Is this the direction our country is heading? Make America Great Again huh?! He said that ♂️— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 12, 2017
And last year, we saw James, Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade open the 2016 ESPYs broadcast with a message clamoring for change and encouraging their peers to be socially active, as well.
The NBA is encouraging their players to speak out on what they feel is right, once again proving while other professional sports leagues stay behind, the NBA remains ahead of the curve.