For months we have seen more and more race related crimes resulting in a cry for change that gets louder every day. Specifically spotlighted are the instances of police brutality against African Americans. These unforgivable acts have led to many discussions, these discussions while important and necessary continue to produce no results. The violence continues despite the protests, the statement tee-shirts, the public calls for change, and the publicity.
On August 23rd 2020 Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back. While the details are still coming forward at the time of writing this article, the community reaction has been loud and clear. People want change, they are screaming at the top of their lungs for it, and some are dying for it. While the need for change is undebatable, the way in which many are trying to evoke this change is. As evidenced by the continuance of crimes against African Americans, nothing that has been done up to this point has resulted in anything of significance.
One result of the recent acts of violence was for NBA Players to boycott the playoff games. They stood together in an effort to create a call for change (this has been done throughout the season by statement jerseys and slogans on the court), a change that will not come. The players have grossly misjudged the effect of their action, or more accurately, inaction.
We are all guilty of over-estimating our importance at some points in our lives, NBA Players are no different. To think for one moment that not playing a basketball game or season can have any effect on a worldwide problem that has spanned hundred’s of years shows that these players are out of touch. They live in a world that most of us do not. While basketball is of the upmost importance to them, it is not to real world. Those involved in the NBA, players, coaches, and owners live and breathe the sport. The loss of a game or season is important to them, but for the rest of the world, they will just change the channel and watch something else. The loss of basketball temporarily or permanently has a zero percent chance of affecting change. Why? Because this loss doesn’t affect enough people to do so. Only the 1% who live in that world.
In reality, this boycott hurt the cause and message it was meant to help. It does not help Jacob Blake, George Floyd, and any victim of a race crime. People are already aware or theses horrendous incidents, so much so that the message of the boycott lacks the necessary firepower it needs to be effective. An issue as widespread as Race crime can only be fought with the most powerful weapons. We need weapons with the ability to make nuclear change! So powerful that they cannot be ignored with the click of a remote control. This is where the NBA players missed their shot. A complete no rim, no backboard, AIRBALL!
The power needed in this battle for change is not found in the ability to play or not play basketball, it is not the ability to shut down a game, and it is certainly not the ability to shut down a season. In fact, not playing will decrease the power of the players making them less likely to make any significant difference.
The power needed for change is created from the players playing. As a result of playing the games the players receive money, lots of it! As a result of playing games the players increase their celebrity status which results in people willing to listen to them, lots of people!
The players need to use their money and celebrity. The combination of these two powers multiplied by time is a weapon of mass destruction against racism. Racism and police brutality will not end in one night. But the process can start.
Education is the method needed. Specifically, education of the younger generation. The younger generation is more willing to learn and are less jaded than the older generation. Teach them and they will help teach their parents. How is this done? With the power of money, people willing to listen, and time. The power that NBA Players get from playing.
Thankfully, one of the greatest attributes of an All-Star like Lebron James, Luka Doncic, or Chris Paul is the ability to keep shooting after a miss. I hope these players shoot again! Play the games, pool the game checks for the rest of the season, and utilize the full weight of their celebrity form these games. If the players can do this, then change may be possible.
The money can fund a national racism curriculum that will be taught in all schools. The celebrity can help organize those willing to listen to put pressure on government and education officials to ensure the enforcement of this new curriculum. Once the implemented the newly educated will spread what they have learned to others, both younger and older. Over time the message will no longer need to be spread it will just be understood.
A little bit about me! I'm a family man with a lovely wife and three awesome boys. I have a bit of an entrepreneur bug. I started and sold my own company twice ( small businesses but the experience was valuable), I've dabbled in real estate, been an Ebay reseller, and also spent many years in management roles which is my current stream of income ( plus a few side streams I've put together). I'd say all in all I'm your typical guy trying to make a better life for his Family.