The NBA has seen a ratings collapse like no other sports league – all sports are down but the NBA is seeing historic lows.
So it comes as no surprise that the NBA commissioner Adam Silver just announced that the NBA will leave all the social justice messages “off the floor” next season. Adam Silver sat down for an interview with Rachel Nichols of ESPN to make the announcement.
Rachel Nichols: The NBA has certainly been the most visible billion-dollar organization championing social justice and civil rights. As you noted in your press conference the other day, though, that has not been universally popular. How committed are you to being that going forward?
Adam Silver: We’re completely committed to standing for social justice and racial equality and that’s been the case going back decades. It’s part of the DNA of this league. How it gets manifested is something we’re gonna have to sit down with the players and discuss for next season.
I would say, in terms of the messages you see on the court and our jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began these discussions with the players and what we all lived through this summer.
My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor. And I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.’
According to Outkick: “The ratings have fallen precipitously throughout the playoffs and especially during the NBA Finals. It’s true that the NBA is out of season, other out-of-season sports like hockey and horse racing are down a lot too, and it’s weird with no fans in the stands.
The NBA is competing against football games and MLB playoffs when it normally has national sports fans’ attention mostly to themselves, and it’s a miracle how seamlessly they pulled off the bubble for their fans and TV partners.”
From The Post Millennial:
According to NBC Sports, “Adam Silver told them, ‘Hey guys, this is what we’re going to do to support our players. Our league is overwhelmingly comprised of African American players. This is important. This is a partnership. We need to work together to get through this season and into next year.’”
“The messages agreed upon by the National Basketball Players Association and the NBA are: Black Lives Matter, Say Their Names, Vote, I Can’t Breathe, Justice, Peace, Equality, Freedom, Enough, Power to the People, Justice Now, Say Her Name, Sí Se Puede (Yes We Can), Liberation, See Us, Hear Us, Respect Us, Love Us, Listen, Listen to Us, Stand Up, Ally, Anti-Racist, I Am A Man, Speak Up, How Many More, Group Economics, Education Reform and Mentor,” said ESPN, referring to the messages approved by the league to show support for social justice issues on the court.
300 of the league’s 350 players chose to do so, generally by wearing “Black Lives Matter” T-shirts, during a season that has now become famous for the worst ratings ever. Viewership was down 68% on average for the NBA finals this year between the LA Lakers and the Miami Heat.
Silver has now reversed his position, saying that he is committing to league play going back to “normal” next year.