NBPA Details Commitment to Civil Rights, Initiatives, Values Amid Social Unrest

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistJune 17, 2020

NEWPORT BEACH, CA - OCTOBER 1: Executive Director of the National Basketball Players Association Michele Roberts speaks on the Women in Leadership panel at the espnW Summit held at Resort at Pelican Hill on October 1, 2018 in Newport Beach, California. (Photo by Meg Oliphant/Getty Images)
Meg Oliphant/Getty Images

The NBPA released a statement Wednesday detailing its increased effort to help end police brutality and further its social justice work, including the introduction of a Police Accountability Project.

The project would see the NBPA support an accessible national database of police misconduct while offering support for the removal of officers who abuse their power. 

"The NBPA will identify—or, if necessary, fund the creation of—an organization(s) capable of the creation and management of the data," the statement read. "Further, the NBPA will partner with and support organizations and community leaders who are working to measure and document the instances of police misconduct and are taking action to remove those officials which permit the perpetuation of police violence against people of color."

Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was arrested and charged with the second-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter of George Floyd last month after video surfaced of him kneeling on Floyd's neck for nearly nine minutes on Memorial Day.

Floyd's death, along with those of Ahmaud Arbery and Breonna Taylor in recent months, led to worldwide protests against racial discrimination of black people. Several of those protests included incidents of police using excessive force against peaceful protesters. Nearly 100 cities saw police officers use tear gas to disperse protesters; tear gas is banned in war

The NBPA says it will "deepen its commitment to social justice" by continuing its work with organizations like the Legal Defense Fund, Chicago Votes, Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defenders and National Museum of African American History and Culture while identifying others with a similar goal. 

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In addition to addressing policing, the union is increasing its efforts in areas of civil liberties like voting and for-profit business. Players from nine teams registered to vote after an NBPA initiative was launched last year, and the union says it plans on continuing the effort when games resume in Orlando. The union will also educate players on policies and work to end voter suppression. 

"As it's been stated, diversity at every level is fundamental to our culture. The vast majority of our members are Black," the statement reads. "As we strive to identify our role in addressing issues of systemic racism that go beyond police brutality, we believe we are uniquely positioned to engage our partners in constructive dialog about their workforce and board diversity. We believe they should also recognize the value of Black participation at every level of their organization."

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