NBA, NBPA Write Letter to Players Encouraging Social Consciousness

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistSeptember 7, 2017

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks to reporters during a news conference, Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, in New York. Silver says the league and players have made
Mary Altaffer/Associated Press

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and Players Association executive director Michele Roberts co-wrote a letter to players "encouraging them in the pursuit of social consciousness," according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.  

In a portion of the letter, which was forwarded by Wojnarowski on Thursday, Silver and Roberts said the league would make itself available for players if they wanted to figure out ways to positively create change: 

"....None of us operates in a vacuum. Critical issues that affect our society also impact you directly. Fortunately, you are not only the world's greatest basketball players -- you have real power to make a difference in the world, and we want you know that the Players Association and the League are always available to help you figure out the most meaningful way to make that difference."

Silver and Roberts also issued a memo to players in September 2016 suggesting they coordinate with the league office and NBPA to find ways to foster "positive change" after several NFL players started to protest social injustice during the national anthem. 

"These ideas are based on the actions many of you have already taken or supported, including convening community conversations in NBA markets to engage young people, parents, community leaders and law enforcement in a candid dialogue," Silver and Roberts wrote at the time, per the Associated Press (via Sports Illustrated). 

Silver reportedly penned another memo to league personnel in the aftermath of November's presidential election. 

According to ESPN.com's Ohm Youngmisuk, the commissioner wanted "to reiterate to NBA employees that the league's core values and commitment to equality and diversity haven't changed."

In recent years, NBA stars have become more outspoken about social issues in the United States. 

At the 2016 ESPYs, LeBron James, Carmelo Anthony, Dwyane Wade and Chris Paul came together on stage and urged athletes across all sports to be more socially conscious and outspoken. 

"The system is broken, the problems are not new, the violence is not new, and the racial divide definitely is not new, but the urgency for change is definitely at an all-time high," Anthony said.

Wade added: "The racial profiling has to stop. The shoot-to-kill mentality has to stop. Not seeing the value of black and brown bodies has to stop. But also the retaliation has to stop. The endless gun violence in places like Chicago, Dallas, not to mention Orlando, it has to stop. Enough. Enough is enough."

Thursday's news comes one day after Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett said in a statement on Twitter that police in Las Vegas used excessive force when they detained him after the Conor McGregor-Floyd Mayweather Jr. while responding to a report of gunshots in the area. 

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