In a press release from the NBA Players’ Association put forth Wednesday, the organization committed to an increased emphasis on diversity with partner organizations and expanded the scope of its racial justice activism work.
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) June 17, 2020
Through a letter entitled “NBPA Update On Current Social Crisis,” the union highlighted that its team is made up of 65 percent people of color and 40 percent women. The union pledged to use its licensing partnerships across all economic sectors to “infuse the values and principles of diversity, inclusion and equity into the core” of these businesses through its for-profit arm, THINK450.
“As we strive to identify our role in addressing issues of systemic racism that go beyond police brutality, we believe we are uniquely positioned to engage our partners in constructive dialog about their workforce and board diversity,” the union said in its statement. “We believe they should also recognize the value of Black participation at every level of their organization.”
Moreover, the union is identifying new ways to put money back into the fight against systemic racism. The statement announced the creation of the Police Accountability Project, which aims to “create and manage a nationwide database of police misconduct and abuse” and lead or “support community efforts to remove those local officials in those jurisdictions evidencing historical indifference to or affirmative protection of predatory police officers.”
Though the union is not officially creating a new organization to spearhead these efforts or raise money, they will seek partnerships with other activist groups already doing this work.
From the union statement: “Rogue law enforcement officials persist in abusing communities of color largely because of their confidence – borne out by the historic failures of their respective jurisdictions – to document, investigate or prosecute those who abuse their authority.”
When the majority of the NBA relocates to Orlando in a few weeks, the union will work to register as many players as possible to vote. Previously, nine teams had been registered, but getting everyone in one place provides an opportunity to go further.
Also in Orlando, the union wrote, “We are actively preparing and soliciting proposals regarding ways Players competing in the games in Orlando can effectively continue their advocacy on the national stage occasioned by the games.”
Much remains to be hammered out, but the union stepping forward with concrete action is a strong step as players like Kyrie Irving, Avery Bradley and Dwight Howard continue to push for real in-season demonstrations if the league resumes play.