Golden State Warriors forward Draymond Green says the support Adam Silver has given players in social justice causes has made them more comfortable in publicly speaking their minds.
"In my opinion, we have the best commissioner in all of sports," Green said Tuesday on ESPN's First Take (around the 4:30 mark). "... When you look at the things [Silver's] done since he's taken over the league, from his first year on the job removing Donald Sterling from ownership, when guys were wearing 'I Can't Breathe' shirts, he never once [didn't] support that. He's always supported anything the players are about, and that's a partnership. When you have a commissioner, a league office, that are supporting you the way our league supports us, it gives us the utmost power to stand for what we believe in. I give a lot of credit to Commissioner Silver for that."
Green juxtaposed Silver's support with the lack thereof from NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, specifically the Colin Kaepernick situation. Goodell recently admitted the league was wrong for attempting to quell peaceful protests by its players. Kaepernick has been out of football the last three seasons after kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism against Black people in 2016.
Silver has often been at the forefront of racial and social justice issues. His first major controversy after taking over for David Stern was the ban of former Clippers owner Donald Sterling after he made racist comments in a private conversation with his then-girlfriend. Silver also allowed players to wear "I Can't Breathe" shirts during warm-ups in 2014 after the death of Eric Garner in police custody and has encouraged them to speak out on social issues.
As nationwide protests broke out after the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day, Silver said he was "heartened" by NBA players who joined the demonstrations.
"As a league, we share the outrage and offer our sincere condolences to their families and friends. Just as we are fighting a pandemic, which is impacting communities and people of color more than anyone else, we are being reminded that there are wounds in our country that have never healed. Racism, police brutality and racial injustice remain part of everyday life in America and cannot be ignored. At the same time, those who serve and protect our communities honorably and heroically are again left to answer for those who don’t."
Silver also said he hopes the NBA helps address racial issues upon its return next month in Orlando.