Playoff suspension? the 9 key questions of the conflict

Today may be a historic day in sports in the US What can owners do? What happens if the season is canceled?


Wednesday's day of the NBA playoffs was not played. Thursday's has little chance of doing so, with scheduled meetings from which, in addition, the definitive cancellation of the 2019-20 season may come out, which was restarted less than a month ago in Florida. These are, at the gates of a day that could transform the NBA forever, the main keys to a historic break in American sports: 444 444Why did the players decide to stop

Minutes before the Milwaukee Bucks-Orlando Magic, the Wisconsin franchise decided not to play the game. That's the key: the Wisconsin franchise. There, in the town of Kenosha, the police shot seven times in the back at Jacob Blake, an unarmed African-American who had his back turned to the officers and was advancing towards his car, where three of his six children (three, five and eight years). This new case of police abuse suffered by an African American has fanned a flames of protest that had not been completely extinguished since George Floyd was assassinated by police officers in Minneapolis on May 25.To these events was added the death of two protesters during the night of Tuesday, killed by a 17-year-old armed man, related to supremacist groups and who was recorded on video interacting with absolute normality with Kenosha police officers, whom he saw himself thanking these paramilitary groups that showed up in the area for their presence. The situation is extremely tense and the Milwaukee Bucks, the Wisconsin team, has knocked on their doorstep. In the words of George Hill, base of the franchise who read the statement issued by the staff: “The last four months have shed light on the racial injustices that are experienced in African American communities in the United States. Citizens across the country have used the platforms at their disposal to speak out. In the last few days we have seen in our state, Wisconsin, the horrible video in which it was shown how a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back. And then we have seen how protesters were shot. Despite the clamor for change, there has been no action. So our mind cannot be set on playing basketball. ”

Will today's matches be played on Thursday? second-round first series: Toronto Raptors-Boston Celtics. At 11:00 on the East Coast, five in the afternoon in Spain, there are two decisive meetings scheduled, one of the owners of the 30 franchises and another of the players, who spoke during Wednesday night without reaching a consensus . From there, much firmer decisions will emerge and may already be final. Journalist Adrian Wojnarowski quoted a senior NBA executive to make clear that an immediate solution is difficult: “Right now there are still a lot of emotions. It takes more time for this to take a final shape. ”

Can the 2019-20 season be canceled?

Of course. It is a very real option. For now, what is known is that the Lakers and Clippers were the only ones who voted to stop playing and leave the Disney World bubble, with their leaders, LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard, firm on the matter. But basically the meetings planned for this afternoon mark a clear roadmap: if the owners do not have a convincing plan for the players today on how to go further in the engagement for social justice and against systemic racism, the players could definitely choose for not playing the rest of the 2020 playoffs.

What can homeowners do?

That is the million dollar (or billions) question right now. With their move yesterday, the players transfer the pressure to the owners of the 30 franchises and the NBA's axis of power. In their demands in recent days, many have assured that they have grown tired of attracting attention without any real movements for change. They are seeing that the messages on the shirts, the constant calls through the media and the Black Lives Matter logo on the tracks are gestures that are not enough because they do not provoke actions that make real differences. By stopping, the ball now goes to the court of owners with a lot of economic power and, in many cases, good political connections. And to the NBA, a business that generates about 8,000 million dollars in profits a year, and the giant partners that feed that machinery and feed on it: Disney, Time Warner, Nike ... Yesterday, the franchises and many owners to personal title expressed their outrage at what happened in Kenosha and their solidarity with the players. In recent months they have pledged more than ever to fight for social justice, they have supported protest demonstrations during the performance of the United States anthem and, for example, have agreed to invest some 300 million over the next decade to promote mobilization. Afro-American communities economics. What else do they have to do? That is the question on which the season and the future of the NBA may depend.

Does the step taken by Milwaukee Bucks serve any purpose?

Of course, the action goes far beyond words and is being demonstrated again. From their locker room meeting, the Bucks contacted Lt. Governor Mandela Barnes and Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul. The latter spoke after his conversation with the roster: “I want to express my praise to the Bucks for taking a step, making their voices heard and participating in the dialogue on these issues. I applaud that they have decided to take on this leadership role ”. Meanwhile, the WNBA also stopped its games and in other competitions (MLB, NHL) meetings were suspended and the dialogue was opened on what position to take. As happened on March 11 with the pandemic, when it was the first to close its doors, the NBA has once again taken a leadership position, this time thanks to the strength of more empowered players than on other occasions.

What if there is no season?

Economically it would be a disaster for the NBA, which has invested a lot in creating (successfully) the Walt Disney World health bubble and could not offer anything to its television partners when the part approached. Most attractive on the cake: Conference semifinals and finals and the Finals for the title. The franchises could terminate the collective agreement, the players would not receive their salaries and the league would undertake the lockout and negotiations to define a new agreement, something that could be especially hard in times of pandemic and without certainty about when and with what degree of normality could a competition be resumed that lose an injection of essential capital without an audience in the halls.

Why was there tension between the players?

There are basically 30 franchises and about 450 players in the NBA. So it seems at least human that there are different postures. For this reason, and more in a matter in which there are so many emotions at stake, there is talk of a “very hot” meeting and of very conflictive moments in the players' meeting on Wednesday. Many want to play, because they fear the economic consequences of doing so (the average NBA salary exceeds 7 million dollars per year but there are many players who earn much less than that) and because they feel that not doing it might not be a solution in the medium and long term. term. Doc Rivers, Clippers coach and one of the strongest voices for social causes, told players yesterday that "their talent is their power" and that is why the best way to exercise their power is to continue playing games. There are those who asked for more "transparency" to the players' union, chaired by Chris Paul. Others, such as Jaylen Brown, asked that those who prefer to leave the bubble do so for reasons strictly associated with social struggle and mobilize accordingly as some fear that there might be players who simply prefer to stop playing because they have tired of isolation from Florida, where franchises have been concentrated since July 7. Those who bet not to gamble consider that they should not continue to create a distraction that takes their eyes away from the reality of what is happening on the street at a time that can be historic for American society. Veteran JR Smith, who now plays for the Lakers, explained it this way on his Instagram account: “Don't you want to hear us? Now you won't be able to see us either? ”

Aren't these the demands that Kyrie Irving made?

Basically, Kyrie Irving led a movement that rejected the return to competition, which was joined by numerous players and that acquired a transversal character with the presence of members of the world of culture and culture. the show. Some at the time confused the message, very valid (although obviously within a very complex debate, with its bearer, a complicated character Kyrie who has already made headlines in the past for reasons as strange as feeding flat-earthing theories. But the The group that he led questioned the players' union for lack of dialogue with all strata of its constituents and made it clear that playing again was diverting the focus of the social revolt that caused the death of George Floyd and gave society bread and circuses. : "As native Afro-Caribbean men and women who amuse the world, we will continue to use our voices and platforms to inspire the search for positive change. We are at a turning point in history, one where as a collective community we can come together - UNITE - and move as a single organism As an oppressed community we have been persecuted by the system for more than 500 years, used for our talent or our property in intellectual but still killed by the very people who should 'protect and serve us'. WE HAVE ALREADY HAD ENOUGH. ”

Have the NBA playoffs been stopped before?

Yes, title playoff games have been postponed before, but only in truly exceptional circumstances. In 1992, a Clippers-Jazz and a Lakers-Blazers who had to play each other in Los Angeles were stopped by the riots that shook the city when, on April 29, an almost entirely white jury acquitted the four police officers who They appeared on recordings beating up black cabbie Rodney King. Before that, only playoff games had been stopped on April 4, 1968, after the assassination of Martin Luther King.

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