Adam Silver Supports NBA, WNBA Players' Strikes for Social Justice Reform

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistAugust 28, 2020

FILE - In this Oct. 8, 2019, file photo, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver speaks at a news conference before an NBA preseason basketball game between the Houston Rockets and the Toronto Raptors in Saitama, near Tokyo. It’s been over three months since the commissioners of major sports cancelled or postponed events because of the coronavirus. Enough time for us to grade them on how they’ve handled the virus so far. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

In a letter to NBA and WNBA employees, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver expressed support for players in both leagues pushing for social reform.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium tweeted the letter Friday:

Shams Charania @ShamsCharania

NBA commissioner Adam Silver pens letter to league employees, obtained by @TheAthleticNBA @Stadium: “I wholeheartedly support NBA and WNBA players and their commitment to shining a light on important issues of social justice.” https://t.co/2SPEunp64I

NBA players decided against taking the court for scheduled playoff games Wednesday and Thursday, while WNBA players sat out the six games scheduled for Wednesday and Thursday in an effort to shine a light on the fight against social injustice, racial inequality and police brutality.

The catalyst for the recent protests was the police shooting of 29-year-old Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, this week.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that NBA players voted in favor of continuing the playoffs, which was far from a sure thing initially.

Wojnarowski previously reported that both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted against continuing the playoffs in an unofficial poll, although they eventually reversed course.

Continuing without either team would have been difficult since they are both one win away from advancing to the second round of the playoffs and are favored to meet in the Western Conference Finals.

Social injustice, racial inequality and police brutality were hot-button issues before the NBA restart in Orlando, Florida, and players had discussions about potentially not participating in the restart.

The players ultimately decided to play, however, and the NBA took steps to allow the players to stand up for social issues while in Orlando.

In addition to supporting the players' decision to kneel during the national anthem, the NBA has permitted them to wear preapproved social justice phrases on the back of their jerseys.

Silver acknowledged in his letter to NBA and WNBA employees that he wants the league to continue to make strides in terms of enacting change, and he suggested he is open to collaborating with the players in order to make it happen.