Will The NBA Vote (Inadvertently) For Trump—And White America?
The National Basketball Association (NBA) tips off the 2016 season tonight, exactly two weeks before the November 8 election. The overwhelmingly black league seems poised to allow players continue “protests” started by their counterparts in the NFL—and thus inadvertently mobilize white America to vote for Donald J. Trump [NBA, players’ union outline joint ‘meaningful action’ plan in letter, ESPN, by Brian Windhorst, September 22, 2016].
Note that the NBA actually has a rule that “players, coaches and trainers are to stand and line up in a dignified posture along the sidelines or on the foul line during the playing of the national anthem”. [Unlike NFL, the NBA has a rule that players must stand during playing of national anthem, NOLA.com, by John Reid, September 15, 2016]
On March 10, 1996, he sat down in the middle of the anthem. After the game, he told reporters that he considered the flag “a symbol of oppression, of tyranny” and that he would continue to refuse to stand for the anthem.
“I’m a Muslim first and a Muslim last,” Abdul-Rauf (right) said. “My duty is to my creator, not to nationalistic ideology.”
[20 years before Colin Kaepernick, an NBA player refused to stand for the national anthem and paid dearly, Fusion, by Rob Wile, August 29, 2016]
The NBA is in effect subsidized by ESPN, whose parent company is, of course, Disney/ABC. The NBA recently signed a massive nine year/$24 billion deal to broadcast the game—at the same time that ESPN is seeing a substantial drop in the number of subscribers it has (meaning: a massive drop in revenue to the tune of losing 12-13 percent of its subscriber base in five years). [ESPN continues to lose subscribers at an alarming rate, by Cork Gaines, Business Insider, May 31, 2016]
Ratings for the NBA have been declining for years. But that didn’t matter as long as the number of subscribers to ESPN (cable) stayed constant. If you had/have cable, you were still paying for the right to get ESPN even if you never watched an hour of programming on the channel. [What’s Wrong With the NBA’s TV Ratings? Despite the Golden State Warriors’ historic run, the league’s national cable ratings are down again, By Ben Cohen, Wall Street Journal, December 21, 2015]
However, with ESPN (and the various properties like ESPN 2 and ESPN News) losing subscribers, the value of these colossal contracts with the NBA and NFL will have to be reevaluated soon. [The NBA TV Contract Is More Evidence of a Bubble: The NBA’s new TV contract isn’t sustainable, by Clay Travis, OutKickTheCoverage.com, July 6, 2016]
Enter the black NFL national anthem protests and the threat of black players in the NBA doing something to further alienate white fans who want to tune in to just watch basketball and not be browbeaten by an infomercial for Black Lives Matter.
- In 2012, Miami Heat players paid homage to Trayvon Martin by taking a hoodie inspired team photo, instantly siding with the black would-be killer of George Zimmerman. It was this shooting that spawned the Black Lives Matter movement. [Heat don hoodies after teen’s death, ESPN, March 24, 2012]
- Black NBA stars Kobe Bryant, Derrick Rose and LeBron James all wore “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirts in honor of Eric Garner in 2014, further aligning the league with Black Lives Matter .[Purpose of “I Can’t Breathe” T-shirts, ESPN, By J.A. Adande, December 10, 2014]
- The Jewish owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, Donald Sterling, was forced to sell his team after (illegally-recorded) racial comments he made were made public. [How NBA owners can force Donald Sterling to sell the Los Angeles Clippers, SBNation.com, by Kevin Trahan, April 29, 2014]
- Carmelo Anthony, Chris Paul, Dwayne Wade, and James used the ESPY Awards on ESPN as a platform for promoting the “police are targeting black/brown bodies” nonsense [Carmelo, Chris Paul, Dwyane Wade, LeBron make powerful statement for social change at the ESPYS, by Alysha Tsuji, USA Today, July 13, 2016]
Why the NBA must worry about the potential for a Colin Kaepernick-influenced protest is all too clear in a current interview with the New York Knicks’ Carmelo Anthony—who, remember once urged black people in Baltimore not to snitch out fellow blacks (i.e. criminals) to police (i.e. law and order). [‘Snitching’ controversy goes well beyond ‘Melo, by Tom Farrey, ESPN, January 16, 2006]
Anthony is on the cover of ESPN The Magazine wearing what appears to be a Black Lives Matter-inspired militant garb. The opening question offers us a glimpse into a world where blacks are forever free of the consequences of their actions because White Racism can always be blamed:
HOWARD BRYANT: It sounds like there’s a sort of tipping point that’s happening around the country. When I talk to younger people, they have this attitude like, “We’re supposed to be past this. This is why I’m upset.” And then I talk to my uncles and they’re like, “See, this is how it is. This is nothing new.”
CARMELO ANTHONY: This is the new ’60s right here. Everybody I talk to, my mom and uncles and friends, they say the same thing. They’re like, “What you’re seeing right now, we’d seen it already. It’s new to you, but it’s not new to us.” I think it’s bigger and much deeper than just actually seeing what’s happening out there. Not just police brutality but so many other issues out there that are being swept under the rug. Our educational system is messed up. Schools are closing left and right.
[The truth according to Carmelo Anthony, by Howard Byrant, October 18, 2016]
Let’s put this in perspective. There is now no question but that, as I predicted, ratings for the National Football League have plunged because black players decided to take a knee during the national anthem. [National NFL TV ratings continue decline, Sports Illustrated, October 25, 2016]
An average decline of more than 20 percent for the games broadcast on Monday, Thursday and Sunday is a definite cause for concern for a league dependent on the “sports socialism” television contract model behind the massive valuation of each franchise. [NFL revenue-sharing model good for business, By Howard Bloom, SportsBizNews, September 5, 2014]
When Colin Kaepernick made his first start of the season against the Buffalo Bills, he was not only booed at every turn, but the home team fans actually made an effigy of him and had tailgaters “Tackle the Muslim” (it’s been reported Kaepernick has converted to Islam). [Bills fans play ‘tackle the Muslim’ upon Kaepernick’s arrival, New York Post, by Mark Sanchez, October 16, 2016]. But, undisciplined and unrepentant, Colin Kaepernick is now wearing a Black Panther t-shirt to press conferences to further emphasize the anti-white/anti-cop nature of his “protest” [San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick Wears Shirt to Honor Black Panther Party, NBC Bay Area, October 23, 2016]
It’s obvious the ESPN and the NBA is posed to go all-in on Black Lives Matter-inspired rhetoric/actions this season.
Based on the decline in ratings for the NBA and loss of subscribers for ESPN, as well as what has happened to the NFL since it has seen Black Lives Matter inspired protests flourish, it’s also obvious white fans will simply continue to tune out.
Paul Kersey[Email him] is the author of the blog SBPDL, and has published the books SBPDL Year One, Hollywood in Blackface and Escape From Detroit, Opiate of America: College Football in Black and White and Second City Confidential: The Black Experience in Chicagoland. His latest book is The Tragic City: Birmingham 1963-2 013.