98.5 The Sports Hub staff report
A coalition of NBA players, led by Kyrie Irving and Avery Bradley, have banded together to push back against the NBA’s plans of a summer 2019-20 season restart in Orlando. Now, the reasons for the pushback vary from person to person — some players have cited their health concerns, and others have mentioned the state of the country due to racial injustices — but the group has united, as made clear by a statement released to ESPN on Monday night.
“We are a group of men and women from different teams and industries that are normally painted as opponents, but have put our egos and differences aside to make sure we stand united and demand honesty during this uncertain time,” the coalition said.
“Native indigenous African Caribbean men and women entertaining the world, we will continue to use our voices and platforms for positive change and truth. We are truly at an inflection point in history where as a collective community, we can band together — UNIFY — and move as one. We need all our people with us and we will stand together in solidarity.
“As an oppressed community we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP [intellectual property]/Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.
“WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!”
The opening lines of this statement certainly have Kyrie’s fingerprints all over it. 100 percent, even, based on what he reportedly said on a call with over 80 NBA players last Friday, saying he wasn’t down with “systematic racism and bullshit.”
And while the coalition is calling for changes within society, their statement also mentioned their concerns over safety and the motives behind a return, sentiments shared by several NBA players.
“We are combating the issues that matter most: We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities,” the statement continued. “We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions.
“This is not about individual players, athletes or entertainers. This is about our group of strong men and women uniting for change. We have our respective fields, however, we will not just shut up and play to distract us from what this whole system has been about: Use and Abuse.
“We are all fathers, daughters, leaders and so much more. So what is our BIG picture? We are in this for UNITY and CHANGE!”
The NBA is currently scheduled to return to game action at Disney World on July 30.