As part of the NBA Juneteenth celebration, a discussion between Caron Butler and Lakers guard Danny Green led to Green explaining why he joined “More Than A Vote,” the new get-out-the vote and education initiative led by LeBron James.
“We all come from different places and different communities,” Green told Butler, referencing the very public learning curve Drew Brees went through this month. “If we can help educate them, it helps in our next generation of not having police brutality, so it’s big for everyone with a platform … to educate the cities that they come from.”
Yet police brutality is not the only issue at stake, and James’ organization seeks to attack voting and public policy with much broader strategy. James said when the campaign launched that “we’re going to give you the background of how to vote and what they’re trying to do, the other side, to stop you from voting.”
Voter suppression became a hot-button issue anew after Georgia’s primary election. Many waited in line into the night to make their vote count, and James spoke out against the state’s failures that night, calling American voting systems “structurally racist.” Shortly after, James launched “More Than A Vote.”
Green, though, said learning about his civil duties and power as a voter came late.
“I didn’t really care for politics or care to get involved,” Green said. “I would vote when I was able to, but understanding that our voice and taking action does make a difference and is important, and the younger generation understanding that a lot quicker than we did is important for the future.”
Much discussion in the NBA the past couple weeks has covered the question of whether that education process would be help or hurt by the league returning to play. Green said he sees both sides but ultimately believes having a microphone every day on television is too massive a platform to ignore, so long as the message stays front and center.
“It’s an advantage to us to get down there and use that platform to keep the movement alive,” Green said. “It’s a better way for everybody to be there and everybody to be united, and use that platform to our advantage to really put our foot on the gas.”
For those unable to donate or who are not on TV like NBA athletes, Green urged other forms of action, including campaigning with politicians, continuing to protest, and educating oneself.
“There’s many ways to speak out,” Green said. “You don’t have to always use your voice if you’re not comfortable. … It would be nice to get comfortable to speak out some, but there’s so many other ways to join the movement and be with us.”