Around 100 NBA staff members are walking off the job on Friday to support the social justice efforts of NBA and WNBA players, ESPN reported.
The actions of the staff members, based in New York and New Jersey, follow that of the Milwaukee Bucks, who boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night in protest of the shooting of a 29-year-old Black man last weekend in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a uniformed police officer in the city, which is about 40 miles from Milwaukee.
NBA and WNBA players are expected to resume matches this weekend after deciding to end their boycott, meaning games will have stopped for three days while players protested.
“We believe the NBA, its leadership, and the Board of Governors unequivocally have the leverage to do more to directly address and combat police brutality and systemic racism in this country,” the staff wrote in a letter to commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum, obtained by ESPN.
“We acknowledge and credit all the work the NBA has already done,” the letter continued. “But we have the power to have a greater impact. The NBA has not done enough proactively, and rather has relied too heavily on our players.
“We understand that we are a business, but fears of losing revenue and advertisers should not numb us to the cries of Black men, women and children that continue to be oppressed in the same communities in which we play.”
The employees intend to spend part of the day in a virtual meeting, coming up with ideas of actions the league could take and present them to the NBA next week, ESPN said.
Michael Jordan has ‘stepped up’ in talks between players and owners regarding the next steps for the NBA in the fight against racial injustice.
The six-time NBA champion, the majority owner of the Charlotte Hornets and chairman of the NBA’s Labour Relations Committee, played a key role in helping fellow team owners gain insight and understanding of the changes players are calling for the NBA to make on a call on Thursday evenng, reporter Taylor Rooks told NBA TV’s Gametime.
“I have been told by multiple people that Michael Jordan has stepped up in such a big way,” said Rooks. “For him to be on the call with these owners and really trying make sure they see things from different points of view.
“(Jordan) saying ‘I am on this call not as an owner or as a former player, but simply as a black man’ has resonated throughout the bubble.”