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NBA names Obama alum to be director for social justice initiatives

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The National Basketball Association has named an Obama Justice Department alum to oversee its growing social justice initiatives.

James Cadogan will serve as executive director of the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition, the league announced Thursday.

Cadogan served in senior Justice Department positions during the Obama administration, including counsel to the attorney general and director of policy and planning in the Civil Rights Division.

“I grew up not only with an unwavering love for the game of basketball, but also a deep respect for the NBA’s history of player activism promoting racial and social justice,” Cadogan said in a statement.

“Just as today’s grassroots movement for justice can trace its origins to the civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s, this coalition is rooted in the legacy forged by generations of NBA athletes, who for over 60 years have used their platforms to fight for civil rights and economic justice,” he said.

The coalition, which consists of current players, coaches and team executives, was created in November after the league became more involved with social justice issues when it resumed play in its Orlando bubble amid the pandemic.

Particularly, players and the league stood in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement following the police killings of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd. Their deaths catalyzed a summer of nationwide protests in 2020, during which demonstrators called for the end to police brutality and systemic racism.

Black Lives Matter was emblazoned on the courts in the bubble and players donned jerseys with phrases such as “Say her name” and “Enough.”

WNBA players took a stand against former Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), who last year routinely criticized the movement. Loeffler at the time was co-owner of the Atlanta Dream. However, Loeffler was usurped from her Senate seat by the Rev. Raphael Warnock (D) in Georgia’s runoff election and sold her share of the team at the end of February.

NBA teams also partnered with their local governments during election season to turn their home arenas — empty because of COVID-19 — into polling locations on Election Day.

The move comes after usually conservative Major League Baseball relocated its All-Star Game scheduled for this summer out of Atlanta in response to Gov. Brian Kemp’s (R) signing of sweeping voting law changes that have been lambasted by Democrats and voting rights groups as voter suppression. 

Tags Black Lives Matter Brian Kemp James Cadogan Kelly Loeffler Kelly Loeffler NBA Raphael Warnock Social justice voting rights WNBA
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