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Report: Agents advising NBA players against speaking forcefully on social issues


NEW YORK, NY - JANUARY 12: The Chicago Bulls stand for a moment of silence for the National Anthem before the game against the New York Knicks on January 12, 2017 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2017 NBAE (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)

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Many NBA players and even the league itself are discussing the best ways to contribute to the fight against racism that is gaining momentum in the United States.

But not everyone wants to race full steam ahead.

Jared Weiss of The Athletic:

League sources told The Athletic that several agents have advised their clients against forcefully speaking in support of the social justice reform movement, out of concern that it could scare off some teams looking to avoid controversy.

Good agents will give their clients comprehensive and accurate advice then let the clients decide for themselves how to proceed. If speaking out can hurt their careers, players should be made aware of that.

Players should also consider that agents (like everyone) have biases. Agents get a percentage of salary, not a direct cut of social justice achieved.

Assuming their advice is honest… Are these agents conveying a legitimate fear? Or are they being overly cautious?

Colin Kaepernick remains out of the NFL. The NBA still has a rule against kneeling during the national anthem. When Daryl Morey tweeted support for Hong Kong protesters (who are trying to maintain and expand their freedoms), Rockets owner Tilman Fertitta quickly distanced the organization and LeBron James criticized Morey.

On the other hand, Fertitta more staunchly defended Morey’s right to speak out recently. The Knicks faced criticism for not releasing a statement in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death. Even President Donald Trump, whose wrath teams feared crossing, has shifted his tone on Kaepernick. The middle is shifting toward having these conversations.

Yet, to a certain degree, it doesn’t matter whether NBA teams would avoid players who speak out. The fear alone is chilling.

When Avery Bradley raises grievances with how the NBA operates, this fits right in. The league can clearly do more to make players feel comfortable speaking on these important issues.