On Friday, NBA employees walked out of work in solidarity with NBA and WNBA players that opted out of games Wednesday and Thursday in protest for social justice, ESPN’s Malika Andrews reported.
Andrews termed the number of NBA employees engaging in the walkout to be “roughly 100,” from departments including basketball operations, cybersecurity, finance and marketing. They reportedly plan to call state and local officials throughout the day to demand justice for Jacob Blake, a 29-year old Black man shot multiple times in the back as he tried to enter a car by police officers in Kenosha, Wis. Sunday.
Protests have erupted in Kenosha and across the country in response to the shooting, of which a video captured by a bystander has been widely shared. Athletes across American sports have been at the forefront of calls for action and change to address racial inequity and police brutality in the United States.
"We believe the NBA, its leadership, and the Board of Governors unequivocally have the leverage to do more to directly address and combat police brutality and systemic racism in this country," employees participating in the walkout wrote in a letter to commissioner Adam Silver and deputy commissioner Mark Tatum obtained by ESPN.
NBA employees are planning a brainstorming session Friday, with the intent to present actionable ideas for what more the league can do next week, per Andrews.
Silver sent the following letter, obtained by The Athletic’s Shams Charania, to league employees:
The NBA announced Thursday that it’s targeting a return to play either Friday or Saturday.