For the record, this was not a strike. Strikes are organized workers refusing to labor, due to grievances against ownership. The NBA players were not protesting the work conditions of the bubble, money, etc. They were boycotting to protest social injustice, and other issues, that extend beyond their profession. Same with MLB, WNBA, NHL etc… It’s important for Marxists to recognize the difference.
The NBA players & NBA board met separately (& together) inside the Disney bubble on Thursday, August 27, around 11:00 AM ET, and the results were that the league announced it would re-start by the weekend. This had a ‘domino effect’ on MLB, as the postponed baseball games were re-scheduled as doubleheaders– 7-inning games, per the new rule. Many have already been made up. More MLB games were boycotted on Thursday & Friday, but they too are expected to be made up as doubleheaders. The WNBA had shut down, but returned Friday night, as it takes its cue (& name) from the NBA.
As I had suspected, many high-powered black politicians were back channeling with NBA player reps (LeBron James & Chris Paul, particularly) during this boycott.
Led by Barack Obama and multi-millionaire owner Michael Jordan (Charlotte Hornets), these black Democrats steered the players towards a reformist compromise, which will do nothing to abate police violence against the working class. Other hucksters such as Donna Brazile have been asked to weigh-in on this & help with policy, through the corporate media.
This would be a good time for many NBA fans to curtail their LeBron James worship, after seeing this linked Stephen A. Smith (ESPN) clip on how King James turned off all the young players (and others) with his selfish stance at NBA player meetings these past few days. This is a high-school graduate who is a basketball genius, but he is neither ready, nor equipped to lead a mass movement. You need to be educated & in solidarity to lead disenfranchised workers & youth out of dead-end capitalism. That’s what’s required, and the NBA players had nothing close to that revolutionary program.
The truth is that the vast majority of NBA players still in the bubble want to finish the season. These are young men who have sacrificed their personal lives for their profession, and to earn income. It’s been mentally tough & exhausting, and it’s like that for anyone who has had to work in close contact during this coronavirus pandemic, but the NBA players are determined to finish what they’ve started. Next season? That’s another matter.
What players are most frustrated about is not being able to speak their minds on trigger-happy, killer cops. The NBA, since David Stern, has applied strict censorship towards its players concerning ANYTHING controversial. Players & coaches get fined for complaining about the officiating– even when it’s Tim Donaghy or Joey Crawford. The young players, especially, don’t honor those rules anymore. They understand that they are the product, more than ever. These are unconscious Marxists. That’s the real conflict here, which has been papered over, through the use of star-powered union bureaucracy & back channel politics.
The NBA bubble courts have ‘Black Lives Matter’ stamped on their hardwood. The NBA has obviously thrown in its lot with the Democratic Party. It’s safe to oppose Trump, since everyone knows he’s a fascist sociopath. You just can’t say it. That’s why secret negotiations were held immediately after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court on Wednesday night, August 26. One NBA team does this, and the entire league shuts down, because all the players are together in a bubble. They can meet and talk at length, instead of just passing-by, like they normally do during the season. New ideas are being discussed by the players, and it’s a young league.
It then spills over to other sports, as they feel solidarity. The WNBA, MLB & NHL all stopped play, either collectively, or as individual teams in protest over the Jacob Blake shooting. Women’s tennis star, Naomi Osaka boycotted her semi-final match, and was willing to accept the forfeit. Her opponent refused the forfeit win, just as NBA & MLB teams refused. The USTA wanted Naomi Osaka to play, and convinced her to change her mind. She did, and she made the finals, then withdrew. This hands the Western & Southern Open women’s trophy to Victoria Azarenka.
The US Open starts on Monday, August 31, and this was a tune-up tournament. Therefore it’s not in either players’ interest to play, so Naomi Osaka graciously withdrew. Fans must accept that. Don’t expect a protest from Serena Williams (or Venus) to cancel the US Open, so the event will go on despite all the withdrawals from top players concerning coronavirus safety.
Without athletes, there are no sports. What fascists don’t like is athletes asserting their political power, and their right to speak out on important issues. “Just shut up and play,” is an elitist & de-humanizing attitude towards athletes. If you care about sports, then you have to recognize these athletes as human beings. That means respecting their personal decisions & political statements, especially if you don’t like them.
Fans are allowed to criticize, but only rationally. Save morality for when you look in the mirror. Too often, professional & college athletes have been shackled by owners, universities & sponsors, and therefore can’t defend themselves. For this reason, media & fans should not be allowed to attack athletes personally, or use them for nefarious political purposes.