The preponderance of players wearing “I Can’t Breathe” shirts during pre-game warmups in lieu of league-mandated apparel puts Adam Silver in a tough position. He can’t in good conscience fine Derrick Rose, LeBron James, and company, but he also can’t sit idly by and watch the dress code be flaunted. The commissioner effectively toed those lines by telling Yahoo Sports’ Adrian Wojnarowksi that while he respects the players’ right to voice their views, he’d prefer if they wore standard apparel.
“I respect Derrick Rose and all of our players for voicing their personal views on important issues, but my preference would be for players to abide by our on-court attire rules,” Silver told Yahoo Sports in an email on Monday night.
Silver is a former lawyer. Can you tell?
What will be interesting is if a player dons an “I Can’t Breathe” tee or another unsanctioned shirt on a second occasion. Public opinion of league followers rests on the side of the players, and Silver would risk alienating his fan base by reprimanding a repeat offender.
But he has to look out for the NBA’s endorsers, too. As far as we know, adidas didn’t supply Rose and the rest with the shirts. What is Silver supposed to tell the league’s exclusive on-court apparel provider?
This is exactly the type of diplomatic response we expected from the commish. And while it’s a ways from the ideal one of donning a shirt of his own, Silver obviously isn’t entirely silencing the players, either. It seems an appropriate answer to us.
What do you think?
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