Monday, January 22, 2018
Sports

NBA commissioner: Players free to express political views

NBA commissioner Adam Silver is more than happy that his players, as well as those in the WNBA, are willing to use the forum given to them as high-profile athletes to express their beliefs about events taking place in our society.

But in the wake of members of the Minnesota Lynx recently wearing "Black Lives Matter" shirts before a game, he said he's not sure it's a good idea for players in either league to be making statements involving wearing things before or during games.

"My preference would be that players adhere to our uniform rules, both in the NBA and the WNBA," Silver said during his news conference following the NBA's board of governors meetings in Las Vegas on Tuesday night. "I think it's a very slippery slope. As to where you would draw the line when it's appropriate for a particular player to use that, use a game, pregame, as a political forum, I think it's a dangerous road for us to go down.

"I would greatly prefer that the players use the platform they're given, social media, press conferences, media in locker rooms, however they want to do it, to make their political points of view be known."

Silver stressed, however, that he thinks players willing to use their platforms to discuss these issues should have the right to do so. To that point, he mentioned an intriguing possibility: The potential for Team USA to discuss, among other things, the recent shootings that have taken place in Minnesota, Baton Rouge and Dallas.

"They're playing several exhibition games in cities like Houston and Los Angeles and maybe potentially picking one of those cities and creating some sort of forum," Silver said. "Maybe it's an opportunity to sit down with police officers, with local folks, the youth of the community who are directly affected by these issues, to have a platform to talk about these things.

"I think maybe using basketball ... we can get people having a very healthy dialogue on these issues.

"In short, I think those are the platforms, whether they're created by the league or players on their own as opposed to using our uniforms for political expression. My preference would be the former."

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