NBA to resume season and convert arenas into polling stations

The NBA and player’s union have reached a deal to resume the playoffs, which includes converting league-controlled arenas into polling stations and creating a social justice coalition. The deal, announced Friday, comes after the Milwaukee Bucks abruptly sat out of their matchup Wednesday, causing the league to postpone play and forcing the league to bolster its efforts to combat racial inequality. 

League officials have since sat down with players and discuss a path forward. The playoffs will resume Saturday and the league will create a social justice coalition comprised of players, coaches and team owners. The group will focus on issues like voter turnout, civic engagement and policing reform. 

“We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together — in Orlando and in all NBA team markets — to push for meaningful and sustainable change,’ the statement from the NBA and NBPA said. 

Team owners will work with election officials to convert facilities into a voting location for the 2020 general election in cities where the league owns and controls arena properties, the league said. If the deadline has passed, they will find another election-related use for the facility. 

The league said it will also work with players and network partners to include advertising spots in each NBA playoff game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections, working to raise awareness around voter access. The league also plans to create a foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community. 

The Bucks sat out Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic following the shooting of James Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times as he leaned into his SUV by an officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His attorney Ben Crump said Tuesday that Blake is paralyzed and is “struggling to sustain his life.”

The Bucks’ decision led to a ripple effect across several professional sports leagues, including the WNBA, MLS, MLB, NHL and tennis. 

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