Two former members of the Boston Celtics have joined forces to give a voice to players with concerns about the NBA’s return-to-play plan.
Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving and Los Angeles Lakers guard Avery Bradley have created a coalition to give players a way to voice their concerns about resuming play without fear of retribution, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews. Among the coalition’s biggest concerns are the league’s health and safety protocols and allowing players to partake in social justice reform outside the league’s “bubble” city.
On Monday, the coalition sent a statement to ESPN detailing its mission, describing itself as a “movement.”
“We are combating the issues that matter most: We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions.
“This is not about individual players, athletes or entertainers. This is about our group of strong men and women uniting for change. We have our respective fields, however, we will not just shut up and play to distract us from what this whole system has been about: Use and Abuse.
“We are all fathers, daughters, leaders and so much more. So what is our BIG picture? We are in this for UNITY and CHANGE!”
(You can check out the full statement here.)
Over the last few days, Irving has been vocal about his concerns surrounding the NBA’s return-to-play plan, claiming he’d be “willing to give up everything” he has for social reform. But there are plenty of players both past and present that oppose this kind of approach.
Utah Jazz center Ed Davis, for instance, thinks a message like this would appear more sincere if it were coming from players that aren’t stars in the league, the ones that have the most on the line and the most to lose. Then, there’s former NBA star Charles Barkley, who said “it will be stupid to not play” during Monday’s episode of “Get Up!” on ESPN.
Another former Celtic, Kendrick Perkins, also ripped Irving for his latest tactics during an appearance on “The DA Show” on Monday. Perkins says Irving is “ruffling feathers for no reason” and believes he is “just trying to throw a wrench in something.”
Will Irving and Bradley’s new coalition help bring about meaningful change, however? Only time will tell.
Thumbnail photo via Noah K. Murray/USA TODAY Sports Images