Welcome back NBA! Now that the 2017-2018 NBA season has started, we have a little housekeeping to do concerning the National Anthem. I am sure everyone is waiting to see what players on teams around the league will do once the anthem is played. For the record, I hope they do something, and continue to do something throughout the season. If they take a knee, I will applaud them. If they sit down, I will applaud them. If they stand up, I will applaud them. In my opinion, as long as some of the players show their support for the cause, I will applaud them.
Of course, one must ask what cause I am referring to. I am referring to the original cause. You know it by now: protesting during the anthem against police misconduct and brutality in communities across the nation. THIS IS THE CAUSE. It is the cause started by Colin Kaepernick of the NFL. As Kaepernick said, this is not about the flag, nor is it about disrespecting the military or soldiers. Instead, it is a simple, yet powerful statement to raise awareness of police brutality towards people of color.
Side note: Whether you agree with it or not, this is the cause he stated as the reason for his protests during the National Anthem. To put any other label on the protests is unfair, especially when the cause has been clearly stated. It is true, you have your right to your own opinion, but changing the narrative that has been identified to wrong.
Now that the NBA is back in season, one must wonder what the reaction will be if players protest. I have a good idea based upon what we have heard already…
…the players have no respect for the military.
…the players have no reason to be upset because they are doing well financially.
and the kicker…
…the players should be doing something about black-on-black crime (or the gun violence in Chicago).
If the players protest, you and I both know it’s coming! Let one NBA player protest the anthem, and I guarantee you will hear at least one of these reactions. Well I am here to dispel these ideas that NBA players (and athletes in general) are not on the frontlines standing against issues that affect their communities. Let me be even clearer: black athletes are consistently involved in making a positive impact in the black community. Black athletes deal with issues like poverty, violence, and education in our communities.
Critics want proof. While I am not here to provide an extensive list, I will provide information easily found online to defend NBA players against the attacks that are sure to come. These examples show NBA players, through their own charitable foundations, and NBA teams in action fighting against social issues. In fact, the NBA has programs that work with the military and police as well. All of these and numerous other examples can be found by searching online.
So remember, if you see NBA players take a knee or take a seat during the National Anthem, please understand that they are more than just athletes. They are aware, concerned, and fighting against issues in black communities across the country.
NBA Cares works with internationally recognized youth-serving programs that support education, youth and family development, and health-related causes, including: Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Special Olympics, YMCA of the USA, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, UNICEF, the Make-A-Wish Foundation, Share Our Strength and GLSEN.
NBA Cares Hoops For Troops
NBA Cares Hoops for Troops is a year-round initiative led by the NBA, its teams and players in collaboration with the Department of Defense, USO and other military and veteran-serving organizations to honor active and retired service men and women and their families.
NBA Cares My Brother’s Keeper
In 2014, the NBA family set a goal to recruit 25,000 new mentors over five years, with a focus on adult males of color. Less than three years into the partnership and less than one year since the campaign’s launch, more than 25,000 Americans have already signed up to become a mentor and been connected directly to a mentoring program in their community.
Chicago Bulls Charities
On July 18, the Chicago Bulls and Jordan Brand hosted a basketball tournament and conversation circles at the Advocate Center for students in Youth Guidance’s Becoming a Man (BAM) program and Chicago Police Department officers.
Joakim Noah, Player NY Knicks- Noah’s Arc
Noah’s Arc arts programs give young people in under-served areas and those who are dealing with emotional and/or physical adversity the opportunity to engage in powerful self-expression.
Dwayne Wade (Chicago native), player Cleveland Cavaliers- Live to Dream Program
The Live To Dream program was developed in part to assist the City of Chicago in their continued efforts to decrease the violence and fatalities by providing safe havens and high quality programming for youth.