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Lou Williams is trying to slowly explain why the NBA season resuming is not helpful right now.
Sports are a distraction, something the world simply does not need right now.
It’s not a new concept, in fact, we’ve heard and read it in various different forms over the past month. As protests continue to sweep the country following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, sports feel less important than they ever have.
Despite this, the NBA continued the quest to quench American’s thirst for sports by revealing a thoroughly laid out plan to resume the season after it was suspended due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Initially celebrated by fans, the plan was questioned in a player’s meeting late in the week that pondered the logistics of how the league could safely resume. In that call, Kyrie Irving raised an even bigger question: Is basketball coming back right now, in the middle of a seismically important moment in human history, actually a bad thing?
“I don’t support going into Orlando,” Irving reportedly said on the call. “I’m not with the systematic racism and the bullshit. Something smells a little fishy.”
The response to Irving’s comments has been exactly what you’re probably thinking. ESPN called him a ‘disruptor’, Doug Gotlieb invoked the late Pat Tillman for some reason, and many NBA fans have pushed back. Even fellow players, like Austin Rivers, have questioned whether Irving is on to something or not with trying to prevent the NBA season from resuming in the name of social justice.
Are NBA Players supporting Kyrie Irving’s stance?
Lou Williams is among the players supporting Kyrie. The Clippers guard methodically responded to fans on social media who were varying degrees of upset at the idea of the NBA season not resuming.
One fan begged the question of when has NBA players playing games ever stopped them from protesting. While not totally incorrect, as players like LeBron James have used their platform to protest in shootarounds and at the ESPYs, simplifying the protests in such a way is a step removed from telling players to ‘Stick To Sports’. Fans are as close as they’ve ever been to getting sports back, but such pushback on Kyrie’s view is a dangerous false equivalence.
Williams had a pointed response that highlighted that idea.
“You’re dying to get back in the house and drink a beer and watch us hoop,” Williams said on Instagram. “Opposed to being outside fighting for your equality.”
It’s very easy to blur the lines between sports being used to bring attention to injustice and sports being used to distract us from such a thing. Nothing would send a louder message than games being allowed to resume not being played, and games returning could do more harm than good.
“We are fighting for radical change. Sports has been a healing factor,” Williams said to another fan. “In this climate…it’s a distraction.”
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