One of the more interesting aspects of the upcoming National Basketball Association season could be what happens off the court in terms of social awareness and protest.
You really have to wonder what Wisconsin Governor and former Milwaukee County Executive Scott Walker’s real private reaction was when he learned that Milwaukee Bucks President Peter Feigin said of the city, “Very bluntly, Milwaukee is the most segregated, racist place I’ve ever experienced in my life. It just is a place that is antiquated. It is in desperate need of repair and has happened for a long, long time. One of our messages and one of our goals is to lead by example.”
Feigin was speaking about how the new Milwaukee arena scheduled to open in 2018 and publicly funded in large part by Walker’s decision to keep the team in Milwaukee and making Bucks ownership happy could help drive business in Milwaukee.
The NBA under Commissioner Adam Silver has become more involved in social issues ranging from kicking Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling out of the league for his off the record socially insensitive remarks to pulling the All Star Game out of Charlotte because of what ownership perceives as state enforced discrimination against gays, lesbians and transgender people thanks to the HB2 bathroom bill.
The players have not exactly been quiet either, Clippers players threatened a boycott if Sterling was not removed, players led by LeBron James, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade and Carmelo Anthony have supported the Black Lives Matter movement. James will stand for the national anthem this year but a number of coaches including Greg Popovich and Doc Rivers say they will support any player who plans a national anthem protest.
The days of not expressing opinions and backing them up are over although that might not go over well with people who don’t want the real world to interfere with their sports enjoyment.
By Evan Weiner For The Politics Of Sports Business
This article was republished with permission from the original publisher, Evan Weiner.