Obama counsels NBA players on forming a social justice committee

Former President Obama spoke with NBA players this week as they decided whether to end their strike in support of racial justice protests across the country.

A spokesperson for Obama told The Hill that the former president provided advice to a small group of players and discussed ideas including setting up a “social justice committee.”

“As an avid basketball fan, President Obama speaks regularly with players and league officials. When asked, he was happy to provide advice on Wednesday night to a small group of NBA players seeking to leverage their immense platforms for good after their brave and inspiring strike in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting,” the spokeswoman, Katie Hill, said. 

“They discussed establishing a social justice committee to ensure that the players’ and league’s actions this week led to sustained, meaningful engagement on criminal justice and police reform,” she added.

She did not name which players were in the conversation with Obama, though The Athletic reported the group included LeBron James and Chris Paul.

The conversation came after teams across the NBA and other sports leagues declined to play their games amid outrage over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., which has fueled a new eruption of protests against systemic racism and police brutality.

The NBA and its players, longtime supporters of the Black Lives Matter movement, have fully embraced national messaging against racism, putting the words “Black Lives Matter” on their courts in the Orlando, Fla., “bubble” on the Disney World campus and emblazoning messages on their jerseys such as “Say her name,” “Education reform” and “Enough.”

Obama expressed support for the strike earlier this week after the Milwaukee Bucks were the first to announce they would not play their scheduled game.

“I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values,” he tweeted.

Tags Barack Obama Jacob Blake protests Katie Hill NBA NBA boycott
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