Les Carpenter – The Guardian/November 11, 2016
The NBA engenders an climate of open dialogue that’s made basketball players more willing to speak on social issues – and it’s more important now than ever
The NFL and NBA have roughly the same racial profile with African Americans comprising 68 to 74% of their rosters. They have long been leagues dominated by athletes of color and should be places where essential social issues involving race are discussed. And yet when it comes to the actual expression of their players’ voices the two sports are worlds apart.
While NFL players like Colin Kaepernick have spoken out about racial inequalities and police shootings in recent years, their voices are lonelier on those issues than in basketball, where stars feel emboldened to address the problems they see in their communities. The conversation Kaepernick said he wanted to start when he began kneeling for the national anthem this summer has been a dialogue in the NBA for some time. That is a condition of the two leagues: football has always been a controlled world, while basketball has felt far more free.