PORTLAND, OR (KPTV) - The NBA Playoffs are set to resume Saturday following a boycott by teams in support of racial equality.
The league and the Players Association released a statement Friday saying they will immediately establish a social justice coalition made up of players, coaches and owners.
Additionally, NBA arenas and practice facilities around the league will be set up as polling stations for the 2020 election, with the goal of combating voter suppression. There will also be new initiatives on social injustice, racial equalities and advocating for police reform.
“No matter your race, gender, whatever it may be, it’s time for everybody to say that enough is enough,” said Blazers forward Carmelo Anthony. “You don’t have to just be black to say it.”
Blazers guard CJ McCollum is part of the NBA’s executive committee that spent the previous 48 hours working on a solution to get back to work after the Milwaukee Bucks first staged a boycott Wednesday.
“I think what they did sparked a lot of thought across America and across the rest of the world in terms of what is going on in America and how we can kind of look in the mirror and figure out individually and independently, how we can strike the conversation and how to bring about some sort of change,” McCollum said.
McCollum acknowledged it’s difficult to be playing in the “bubble” at the Disney World campus due to the pandemic, while there is civil unrest going on around the country.
“I am not a professional activist, I don’t do this for a living, but I do care deeply about people and equality, so it’s affected all of us and I think when you look at what we accomplished, was I in favor or leaving? No, I wasn’t because I feel like we have a responsibility and obligation to use our platform to take advantage of our situation as NBA players and to continue to push this game forward for the next generation, while it is inspiring kids that come from our neighborhoods,” McCollum said.
On the court, the Blazers are facing elimination against the Lakers, down 3-1 in the best-of-seven series. Game 5 is Saturday.
Still, may players have their minds away from the court.
“We are a long way away from seeing the change and making the change that we really want to see and really want to make, but with that being said, we have to take small victories as they come. You have to attack issues on a small level as they come,” Anthony said.
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