NBA, players’ union outline joint ‘meaningful action’ plan in letter
The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association have worked together over the past several days to create a plan for handling potential protests by players during the national anthem, sources told ESPN.com.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver and union executive director Michele Roberts on Wednesday sent a joint letter to all players. In the document, obtained by ESPN, the two sides pledged to work together to find a way to take “meaningful action” in NBA cities in the wake of the unrest in the country over police shootings and related incidents.
Let me translate this for you:
Silver is begging players not to kneel during the playing of the national anthem before games this upcoming season.
If you stop reading right now, you pretty know know all you need to know. However, this deserves a more detailed explanation.
Because football a game form of ground combat warfare, the men who play it have something of a solider-like mentality. This was one of the reasons why I figured from the outset that the black Mizzou football players were acting not on their own volition, but in reaction to the provocation from older adults on campus. Furthermore, the men who coach NFL teams or any level of football have a Weberian officer- and NCO-like mentality. This is why the NFLPA is the weakest of all the major American sports’ players unions, and why the NFL CBA is the most team- and owner-friendly compared to the others. You no more want football players to have an independent rebellious streak than you want Army privates to have it, for much the same reason. Similarly, college football recruiting and military recruiting share a bevy of similarities.
This is why only a few NFL players are doing the kneeling.
In contrast, the NBPA is strong, and the NBA CBAs are much more player-friendly. The universe of NBA players is as a generality much more tight and socially cohesive than the NFL’s. The relationship between coaches and players in the NBA is not the Weberian military command style structure as one finds in the NFL, it is more of a preacher-parishioner relationship or a motivational speaker-paying audience relationship. The best NFL coaches are the best disciplinarians, while the best NBA coaches are the best motivational speakers.
Furthermore, NBA players on what seem to be bitter rival teams are very friendly with each other when the game clock is not on, while that is not generally the case in the NFL.
One more piece of this puzzle: While the NFL is heavily black, the NBA is even more heavily black. And, unlike football, the game of basketball and black hip hop culture were conceptually merged a long time ago. Let me put it another way: Football happens to have lots of black players, while the NBA is a black league.
Put all these pieces together, and what do we have?
When a few NFL players kneel during the national anthem, a few NFL players kneel. Nothing more.
If one NBA player decides to kneel, the whole league is going to kneel, because one doing it will create social pressure on everyone else to do it, everyone from the last guy on the bench in each team up to the head coach. Any player who doesn’t will quickly become a social outcast, and any coach who doesn’t will lose credibility among his players, and will no longer be able to be a good coach anymore. Remember, motivational speaker, not military general.
Adam Silver has seen how even a few NFL players kneeling is hurting ratings in all football, NFL and college. If we see video of all coaches and players kneeling, it’s going to do existential damage to the NBA.
Silver is trying to pander to key players’ union officials so that they exert pressure within their ranks not to kneel.