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It’s impossible to tune into the 2020 NBA Finals and not notice the “Black Lives Matter” text on the court along with the players wearing the names of black men and women on their jersey’s as well.
In the aftermath of the George Floyd tragedy that took place earlier this year, the NBA has made strides to raise awareness on the issue and promote the Black Lives Matter movement.
Rightfully so, as well. Many have applauded the NBA for using their platform to show support for BLM.
Yet, recent comments by NBA Commissioner Adam Silver have left me scratching my head at whether or not their show of support was genuine or not.
On the NBA Countdown earlier this week, Adam Silver was asked how committed they were to the cause of social justice and civil rights, and was quoted as saying “We’re completely committed to standing for social justice and racial equality and that’s been the case going back decades….”
Silver continues on, describing their view for the 2021 season: “My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor…. And I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game’.
Silver’s comments paint a clearer picture on where the NBA’s priorities lie.
The 2020 season of the NBA Playoffs has been dealing with record low view counts and horrible ratings. Game 3 had the lowest view count of any NBA Finals game in history, with only 5.94 million viewers tuning in, according to Sports Media Watch. The highest viewer count in the series so far was Game 4, with 7.54 million viewers.
For comparisons sake, 2019 had an average of 8.8 million viewers for all it’s games that finals season.
Rather than continue giving civil rights and social justice issues a platform, Silver and the NBA are deciding to cut ties to hopefully gain back some of its viewership that it’s lost due to their decision to prioritize profit over protest.
While it’s understandable that viewers may want to watch the NBA to get away from the stresses of the world and unwind, and that Silver would consider this a return to normalcy and form for the NBA, we should begin to realize that the world we live in is not normal, and will not be for a long time.
The finals are being played in a bubble, and the world around is continually changing. We should evolve with the times, and normalize huge corporations truly supporting a cause that needs the exposure and support.
The NBA, whether their support for BLM was genuine or driven by profit, is in a prime position to normalize this sort of behavior. One can only hope that they continue to do so, when many others have decided to remain silent.