As a push for social change continues across America, Brooklyn Nets point guard Kyrie Irving, who doubles as vice president of the National Basketball Players Association, said that players should strongly consider suspending play entirely until the protests for reform find a productive resolution.
Other NBA players who agree that the league should consider suspend play entirely for the time being are Lou Williams, Carmelo Anthony and Dwight Howard.
LeBron James, a former teammate of Irving in Cleveland where the two became NBA Champions in 2016, is reportedly among the league’s players who believe they could return in late July and still combat social change.
On Friday night, Irving was instrumental in a Zoom conference call involving over 80 NBA and WNBA players.
Discussed were the positives and negatives about playing in this current climate, where police brutality is still at the core of many issues facing black men and women who live in this country.
Irving asserted that he is strongly against playing basketball as opposed to combating systemic racism and social justice issues out in front.
“If it’s worth the risk, then let’s go and do it,” Irving said. “But if you’re not with it, it’s okay, too. We’ve got options for both ways, let’s just come to a middle ground as a family.”
“I agree with Kyrie Irving,” he said in a statement. “Basketball, or entertainment period, isn’t needed at this moment and will only be a distraction. Sure, it might not distract us the players, but we have resources at hand that the majority of our community doesn’t have. The smallest distraction for them can start a trickle-down effect that may never stop.”
Williams also tweeted about why he thinks playing now would be a distraction.
“Stop trying to tell me how to do a job you never did,” Williams tweeted. “If we had a game today and you leave a protest to watch it, that’s a distraction. Any questions?”
James wants to return to basketball, as well as fight for social justice. He launched “More Than A Vote,” a campaign dedicated to voting rights organized by other black athletes and entertainers intended to combat voter suppression.
“Because of everything that’s going on, people are finally starting to listen to us, we feel like we’re finally getting a foot in the door,” James said to The New York Times in a rare interview. “How long is up to us, but we feel like we’re getting some ears and some attention, and this is the time for us to finally make a difference.”