As I write this, the NBA players association are in the midst of discussing whether they should boycott the rest of the playoffs after the shooting of Jacob Blake, another incident of police shooting an unarmed black man. Reports came out that they are boycotting; not 12 hours later further reports contradicted the initial reports. All of this has had me thinking about what impact the social justice efforts the NBA has put on in the bubble has had.
These efforts primarily involve leveraging the attention they get by shining a light on the Black Lives Matter movement. On the back of the playing jerseys, there are social justice call to actions like ‘Vote’ or ‘Black Lives Matters’ and similars alongside their numbers and names. The majority, if not all the players, have used their personal platforms to talk about and shine a light on the issues. This includes not only each player’s individual social media following but with their interactions with media as well. As a close follower of the NBA, that is what I have noticed.
This is what I would say if any players were to read this: it works. For someone whose exposure to America and her culture revolves primarily through music and sport, watching the NBA has really brought AND kept these issues on the forefront of my mind. This is especially the case because of how much it is talked about in the commentary in terms of the individual and organisation-wide efforts that have been made in the bubble to make sure that these efforts are not in vain.
I think, however, the call-to-action could be made a lot clearer such that I know what I could do to help, especially during games and live broadcasts. I feel the message is diluted a little because of how overwhelming the commercial aspect of the business comes through. There are literally so many ads, that as soon as I ponder over the social justice messaging, it is disrupted by a 30 second in-game Statefarm or Geico ad read. If there was a clearer call-to-action, and more unified messaging on all fronts, including perhaps aligning what ads are broadcast, it could amplify the effect tenfold.