NBA leaders and players’ union agree on social justice plan

A meeting between leaders of the NBA and the players’ union on Tuesday closed with an in-principle agreement that the goal of the season resume in Orlando will be to take collective action to promote social justice and combat systemic racism, both sides announced in a news release.

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, players’ union executive director Michele Roberts, union president, Miami guard Andre Iguodala, and Oklahoma City guard Chris Paul and vice president, along with others, attended the meeting, with the aim of advancing the league’s response to social justice matters.

According to both the league and the union, no specific plan was decided but there was broad alignment about the priorities and direction of the efforts, particularly with regard to supporting players’ activism and leadership.

The meeting consisted of discussions about increasing Black representation in the league and among its teams; more inclusion of Black-owned and operated businesses across the league, and the formation of an NBA foundation with the purpose of increasing economic and educational development opportunities in Black communities.

The talks are continuing, the sides said.

The meeting came at a time as players are still deciding whether to take part in when 22 of the NBA’s 30 teams convene on the Walt Disney World campus in July. Games are planned to start on July 30 and the post-season is set to run through October. Players who want to opt out of playing in Orlando as an “excused player” have to notify the players’ union by the end of Wednesday. The union must notify the NBA by Thursday.

Among the players’ concerns are the fast rise in novel coronavirus cases in Florida near the Disney World campus and the susceptibility to injury after months with not much training.

A spotlight on the Black Lives Matter movement is also a considerable concern of some players, a stance that helped lead the league and the union to meet Tuesday.

It was due to the latter topic that Clippers guard Lou Williams said that he was “50-50” on if he wanted to participate or not. He had not made a decision as of Tuesday, according to his agent, Wallace Prather.