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NBA, NBPA Agree To Resume Playoffs Saturday and Outline More Social Justice Initiatives

The NBA will resume its postseason Saturday after holding a series of meetings Thursday with the league’s owners and players union on how to further address systemic racism through various team and league-wide initiatives.

In a joint statement, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBA players union executive director Michele Roberts reported having “a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between 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 NBA and NBPA said they agreed to the postseason restart “with the understanding that the league together with the players will work to enact the following commitments:

►The NBA and its players have agreed to immediately establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

►In every city where the league franchise owns and controls the arena property, team governors will continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID. If a deadline has passed, team governors will work with local elections officials to find another election-related use for the facility, including but not limited to voter registration and ballot receiving boards.

►The league will work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.”

Saturday’s games will be Magic-Bucks (3:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Thunder-Rockets (6:30, TNT) and Blazers-Lakers (9 ,TNT). On Sunday, the Celtics open their Eastern Conference semifinals against the Raptors at 1 p.m. ET on ESPN. That game will be followed by two Game 6s: Clippers-Mavericks (3:30, ESPN) and Nuggets-Jazz (8:30, TNT).

As USA TODAY Sports and other outlets had reported, the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers initially said they wanted to halt the playoffs amid frustration on whether the league’s platform was truly enough to enact change with systemic racism. NBA players became increasingly frustrated this week after police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin, shot Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man, seven times in the back. Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.

The Milwaukee Bucks declined to take the court for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday at Advent Health Arena. Less than an hour later, the NBA announced the Thunder-Rockets and Lakers-Blazers games were postponed. The NBA announced Thursday afternoon that it would postpone games that day, which included the Nuggets-Jazz, Celtics-Raptors and Clippers-Mavericks.

The NBA hosted a Board of Governors’ meeting Thursday at 11 a.m. ET, which coincided with the league’s players meeting to discuss whether they wanted to resume the season. NBA players and team governors representing the league’s 13 playoff teams also participated in a video conference call Thursday afternoon with league officials, the NBA players union and Michael Jordan, who serves as the league’s Labor Relations Committee Chairman.

Story cited here.


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