Draymond Green said he’s confused by the stance taken by some that professional sports should stop while protests for racial justice are going on in the U.S. He conveyed that message on the same day Milwaukee Bucks players boycotted Game 5 of their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in response to last week’s police shooting of Jacob Blake.
Blake, an unarmed Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, last week. Other NBA teams also boycotted their game after the Bucks’ move, which led to Wednesday’s and Thursday’s NBA games being postponed. WNBA games were also called off, along with games in Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer.
“But why can sports wait? Because it’s a sport?” tweeted Green on Wednesday, Aug. 26. “It [too] is a business, like the many other businesses in the world. Why is it that sports can wait but other businesses should not? If that is the case why shouldn’t the CEO of YouTube boycott Alphabet? Or the President of Apple boycott the company? But you say basketball can wait…”
He continued: “Is it because sports (the platform) has afforded the athletes involved such huge platforms? Or maybe the athletes involved past and present actually afforded sports those platforms, that the many athletes currently have today (that’s neither here nor there).”
Before the NBA resumed in July after being suspended for COVID-19, fans and NBA players, like Kyrie Irving, said that playing would take away attention from protests.
Green isn’t among the players in Orlando, Florida, where games are being held, since his team, the Golden State Warriors, wasn’t among the squads eligible to play because of their regular-season record. But he still argued that it’s crucial NBA play continues.
“The notion that athletes should just stop working but no one else in the world should stop is baffling to me,” tweeted Green. “Why stop doing the very thing that offers you the biggest platform to speak for those that look like me/a lot of us.”
It was announced on Friday, Aug. 28, that playoffs would resume on Saturday after the NBA committed to creating a series of social justice initiatives, like turning some NBA arenas into voting locations for November’s general election.
The league will be creating ad spots during every NBA playoff game that will focus on voting and civic engagement. Before the boycott ended, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers reportedly decided to forgo the rest of the season after voting, but those plans have since changed.
Later in Green’s message, he reiterated his point that being a professional athlete allows players to address social justice issues in a way that they may not be able to do if sports stop.
“To do that is to actually give up the platform to speak for them, because without us using our platforms which is afforded by the influence of the sport, it actually stops us from echoing what those in the back are saying. Those people then will never truly be heard,” he wrote. “Athletes stand with the people, no secret there, but to actually tell athletes to stop doing what provides that platform to speak for the people is actually counterproductive. In my opinion.”
Green’s message sparked a debate among his followers, as some agreed with his opinion, while others said NBA players are causing a distraction from protests.
“I agree. I would prefer them to stay and to use this major platform,” one person wrote.
“It’s currently serving as a distraction,” another tweeted about NBA games. “Players have had this platform in the bubble and what has it done? Gotten y’all league approved messages on t-shirts & drowned out spoken words because of sports highlights? The work stoppage means no money for owners.”
“There’s no wrong sides here,” wrote a third person. “Those who sat out and those who are in the bubble. Maximize what you can do with what you have. I don’t have the specifics but I don’t need to compare the two sides.”
Green sent more tweets on Thursday and doubled down on his opinion that professional athletes can do more for racial justice causes by playing than sitting out.
“I stand with my brothers in the bubble continuing to stand for what’s right and fight the oppression of Black People,” he tweeted. “But I do hope that they understand, that we too have a job to do, which is continue building that very platform that we are using to speak for OUR PEOPLE!”
“Making headlines is great. The attention has been grabbed,” added Green. “Now the next steps are more important now than ever. But it’s not just athletes, the next steps from the Black community as an entirety. The next steps from the white community that supports being apart of the change.”