Basketball icon Michael Jordan played a key role in persuading the NBA against canceling the rest of the season, after players boycotted three playoff games in a powerful protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
On Thursday NBA players decided they want to continue with the season after a tumultuous 24 hours where athletes refused to play to protest racial injustice and some voted to cancel the season.
On Thursday morning a meeting was held to determine the fate of the NBA season where Jordan, the owner of the Charlotte Hornets, is said to have played a key role in negotiations.
Jordan is a powerful voice in the NBA thanks to his credibility as one of the most respected players in the world, as a team owner and as the Labor Relations Committee chairman for the league.
President Donald Trump mocked the league on Thursday saying he didn’t ‘know much’ about the protests and belittled the NBA for being too ‘political’ and having ‘low ratings’.
Basketball icon Michael Jordan played a key role in persuading the NBA against canceling the rest of the season. Jordan is a powerful voice in the NBA as one of the most respected players in the world, as owner of the Charlotte Hornets and as the Labor Relations Committee chairman for the league
President Donald President Trump said the NBA’s TV ratings have been ‘very bad’ when asked about player-driven protests over the shooting of Jacob Blake by a Kenosha police officer
‘I don’t know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad. Because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly,’ he said.
Jordan reached out to NBA president Chris Paul, according to the ESPN, in advance of Thursday’s team owners meeting to get a better understanding of what the players hope to achieve going forward and to offer assistance.
Two participants in Thursday morning’s virtual meeting said Jordan was the voice of reason in the gathering and favored continuing the season.
He reportedly encouraged owners to let players express their frustrations before offering solutions.
‘Right now, listening is better than talking,’ Jordan said at the meeting.
‘Michael is the perfect person to be in this role,’ a league official who knew about the discussions said.
‘He’s been a high-profile player who has won championships. He’s also the owner of a small-market team. He has great credibility both with the players and the owners,’ he added.
The Milwaukee Bucks, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers chose not to play in Wednesday night’s playoff games to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake. A view of the empty court for the match-up between the Orlango Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks above in Orlando, Florida
George Hill of the Milwaukee Bucks reads a statement to the media Wednesday announcing their protest and demanding justice for Blake
After the WNBA announcement of the postponed games for the evening, the Washington Mystics each wear white T-shirts with seven bullets on the back protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wisconsin police in Palmetto, Florida
Jordan, who won six championships with the Chicago Bulls, also spoke with Houston Rockets star Russell Westbrook on issues of social justice that led a slew of players to advocate to cancel the season.
Many team owners, including Jordan, favored continuing the NBA season, saying the games are the best and most visible platform for change.
Owners were said to meet again on Thursday to discuss ways to help players meet their goals while continuing to play for the NBA title.
Despite initial reports that the LA Clippers and the LA Lakers voted to cancel the season Wednesday night, ESPN reported that after several meetings Thursday, players voted to continue with the playoffs.
Frustration across the country and major sports leagues are reaching a boiling point following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday.
A white police officer shot him in the back seven times in front of his three young children, leaving him partially paralyzed.
‘Right now, listening is better than talking,’ Jordan said at a meeting for NBA team owners Thursday morning. He spoke in favor of continuing the season but urged owners to listen to their players concerns and frustrations. Jordan pictured right playing for the Chicago Bulls in June 1998
ESPN reported that Wednesday night the LA Lakers, one of the most popular teams in the league, voted to end the season. The team is led by LeBron James who has been an outspoken advocate for racial justice
LeBron demanded change on Twitter on Wednesday afternoon
Benches sit empty at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic for Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on Wednesday
The repeated racial injustice infolding in the country had left some members of the NBA, where 80 percent of players are black, deliberating ‘opting out’ of the season.
ESPN reported that Wednesday night the LA Lakers, one of the most popular teams in the league, voted to end the season. The team is led by LeBron James who has been an outspoken advocate for racial justice.
On Wednesday he took to Twitter to voice his frustration and demand reform.
‘WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT,’ he tweeted.
Thursday’s NBA games were also postponed, it’s not clear when games will pick up again.
The NBA painted ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the courts being used at the Walt Disney World Resort and allowed players to include messages for social justice on their jerseys.
On Wednesday players with the WNBA wore powerful white T-shirts with Jacob Blake’s name and seven bloody bullet holes painted on their back to symbolize his wounds.
On Wednesday the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in Florida.
Jacob Blake, 29, was shot in the back seven times by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday in front of his three young children. Pictured with three of his six kids above
Jacob Blake lies on the street after he got shot following a police shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. His family says he’s left partially paralyzed from the shooting
The game, along with the Oklahoma City Thunder match-up against the Rockets and the Portland Trail Blazers game against the Los Angeles Lakers were also later postponed.
Michael Jordan has been famously apolitical and famously said in 2016 ‘Republicans buy shoes too,’ as quoted by Slate Magazine regarding the sale of his famous Jordan sneakers.
But as of late he has raised his voice to decry police brutality and racial injustice in the US in the wake of a string of police killings.
In June Jordan and the Jordan Brand announced a 10-year $100million pledge to support the black communities.
The first donations were given on July 29 to support efforts fighting against Black voter suppression. Donations of $1million went to Formerly Incarcerated Convicted People and Families Movement and the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund and $500,000 to Black Voters Matter.
On Thursday the president slammed the NBA for being too ‘political’ during a FEMA briefing on Hurricane Laura.
‘But I don’t know too much about the protest. But I know I know their ratings have been very bad. And that’s unfortunate,’ he said.
‘They’ve become like a political organization and that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or the country,’ Trump said.
President Donald J. Trump and Vice President Mike Pence attend a briefing on Hurricane Laura in the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) headquarters, in Washington, DC, USA, on Thursday. Hurricane Laura made landfall early in the morning on August 27 as a Category 4 Hurricane
Trump has yet to specifically comment on the police shooting of Jacob Blake. He did speak about the nights of violence on the streets in Kenosha, on Day Four of a political convention that has featured appeals for ‘law and order.’
‘We will put out the fire. We will put out the flame,’ He said. ‘We will stop the violence very quickly,’ Trump pledged.
Trump’s needling of the NBA over ratings came as early Neilsen ratings revealed that the audience for the third night of the Republican convention dropped to 15.7 million, down 13 percent from Monday, on the three broadcast networks and three cable news channels.
That was below the 22.8 million who tuned in to the same channels for Day Three of the Democratic convention featuring vice presidential nominee Sen. Kamala Harris.
‘Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,’ Jared Kushner said when asked about the NBA walk-out in response to the killing of Jacob Blake
Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short said of the NBA walk-out: ‘I don’t think we care’
Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner took a dig Thursday at professional basketball players who cancelled their scheduled playoff game in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Asked if the White House supported the players, Kushner said: ‘Look, I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.
‘So they have that luxury, which is great,’ he told CNBC‘s Squawk Box.
Mike Pence chief of staff Marc Short said of the NBA walk-out: ‘I don’t think we care’
Former President Barack Obama commended the players and coaches including Doc Rivers
Aug 26, 2020; San Francisco, California, USA; Grounds crew work on the field as Black Lives Matter video plays on the scoreboard before the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers. at Oracle Park
Bucks players said in a statement released Wednesday: ‘Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.’
‘When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable.’ They continued: ‘We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.
‘We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,’ said the statement.
Speaking hours after his initial comments, Kushner softened his criticism and said he would reach out to NBA great LeBron James.
‘I think that it’s nice that they’re standing up for the issue, but I’d like to see them start moving into concrete solutions that are productive,’ Kushner told Politico. And again, President Trump in this White House is willing to work with them,’ he said.
Demonstrators march in the streets on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As the city declared a state of emergency curfew, a fourth night of civil unrest occurred after the shooting of Jacob Blake, 29, on August 23
Demonstrators protest the shooting of Jacob Blake on August 26, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A police officer shot Blake seven times in the back in front of his three children. The shooting sparked three consecutive days of rioting in the city
Source: Daily Mail