About 100 NBA employees will leave on Friday in solidarity with NBA and WNBA players pushing for social justice, a league source told ESPN. The protest comes two days after the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to speak for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday.
NBA staff members based in New York and New Jersey in 10 departments across the league – including basketball operations, cybersecurity, finance and marketing – plan to spend the day calling authorities national and local governments to “demand justice for Jacob Blake and the police to be held accountable.”
“We believe the NBA, its leadership and the Board of Governors have unequivocal power to do more to directly address police brutality and systemic racism in this country,” the staff wrote in a letter to Commissioner Adam Silver. and Assistant Commissioner Mark Tatum.
“We recognize and salute all the work the NBA has already done,” the letter continued. “But we have the power to have a bigger impact. The NBA hasn’t done enough proactively, and instead relied too much on our players. … We understand that we are a business, but the fears of losing revenue and advertisers should not numb us to the cries of black men, women and children who continue to be oppressed in the very communities we play in. “
Employees will meet for a virtual brainstorming session on Friday afternoon, sources said. In the letter to Silver and Tatum, the staff wrote that they hoped to “officially present” these ideas next week. Silver emailed employees on Friday morning, before the staff informed senior NBA officials of their decision to protest.
Blake, a black man, was shot seven times by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. A video of the shoot was posted on social media, sparking protests and pushing more athletes to speak out or take action.