NBA pledges to use arenas for voting or election-related purposes

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The NBA and NBA Players Association agreed to restart the playoffs Saturday, but not before trying to enact some change through voting and civic engagement.

The 2020 playoffs in Orlando suddenly stopped this week when the players went on strike to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks started the move to strike and the rest of the teams quickly joined them in the protest.

The joint statement from the league and players saying they will restart the games came with specific steps both will take to move things forward, together.

According to a joint statement, the NBA and the players will immediately “establish a social justice coalition, with representatives from players, coaches, and governors, that will be focused on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”

Further, the league said in every city where the team owns and controls the arena property, team governors will “continue to work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 general election to all for a safe, in-person voting option for communities vulnerable to COVID.” The statement said if this isn’t possible, teams will work to find another election-related use for the facility.

Finally, the league and players said it will “work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.”

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