An NBA so woke it cancels itself
Deciding to go Colin Kaepernick one better, the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks players decided to cancel their playoff game to protest the Kenosha, Wisconsin police shooting of Jacob Blake, a career criminal with a warrant out for 3rd-degree sexual assault, who was resisting arrest. That act triggered racial grievance riots, along with lootings, destruction, and a likely permanent decline for Kenosha, as usually happens in riot-torn cities.
But the NBA didn't want to leave it alone and let justice take its course.
Someone in the locker room of the Bucks suggested a game strike, and then the rest of them, lemming-like, jumped onboard. The act was followed with at least five teams calling off their games, too, and two teams — the Clippers and Lakers of Los Angeles pulling out of the season entirely. Meanwhile, Kenny Smith, a longtime TNT sports commentator walked off, and LeBron James, who plays for some other team, jumped in, too, effectively calling the walkout a political protest to Get Trump, declaring: "Change starts in November."
A former NAACP chief took it one farther and attempted to pin the leftist violence itself on President Trump:
NBA protests are a result of Trump fanning racial tensions: Ex-NAACP chief - https://t.co/jcldCojeds— 🍷Zanetta🍷 (@therealzanetta) August 27, 2020
That's a very good reason why this isn't going to work.
It's a naked political ploy and a very ineffective one at that. Half the audience is pro-Trump and a big chunk of the non-Trump audience is not interested in politics at all. That puts these players at odds with their audience, the people writing their paychecks and giving them their applause. The idea is that fans will be so upset about the missing games that they will rise up and blame President Trump, voting for his pathetic challenger instead.
We know that it won't work because it hasn't worked. When the NFL engaged in blatant politicking over their urge to disrespect the American flag to protest racism, fans tuned out, and NFL revenues and viewership went down.
As for the NBA, its audience has been dropping even as it paints its courts with Black Lives Matter political sloganeering:
NBA revenue is missing projections, leading to an expected decline in the salary cap. This is a big story. I can’t remember an NFL, NHL or NBA league salary cap ever declining. https://t.co/fiysQi3Dri— Clay Travis (@ClayTravis) January 30, 2020
People watch sports events to be entertained, not to go to political rallies with a ball game on the side. That these players think they're so important to fans that they can dispense with the playing the games that create their fame is a testament to how out of touch they are. They want to be stars, but they don't want to play; they just want to be celebs famous for being famous. This, to say the least, is unsustainable as the inevitable audience tune-out happens.
Here's the other problem, noted by Zachary Faria at the Washington Examiner:
Never mind that Black Lives Matter started when Barack Obama was president, when officer-involved shootings were still happening, and that, unfortunately, they'll still happen under Joe Biden if he's elected president and still happen under whoever is president after that. Never mind that the police reform bill brought forward by Republican Sen. Tim Scott was torpedoed by uncompromising Democrats who would rather use police reform as a campaign promise instead of actually making progress.
In other words, the strike will achieve nothing, and they will have to come crawling back to play ball if they want to play at all, except that much of their audience will be gone, dismissing them as either politically charged, or operationally unreliable.
Way to go, geniuses. And this business of firing the audience is preposterous, too, because the audience already is leaving. Twitter is loaded with negative remarks from former fans saying they are through with the league.
The media are gushing about this as hugely significant — here are a couple of bad ones here and here.
But Paul Mirengoff at Power Line expresses the sentiment of many very well by saying he couldn't care less:
When President Trump said he isn’t watching NBA games any longer, Lebron James, the esteemed social critic who spent his high school winters barnstorming with the basketball team and never attended college, responded “we could care less.” James meant that he and his fellow NBA players couldn’t care less.
I couldn't care less whether the NBA finishes its playoffs. I don’t think I’m alone in this sentiment.
Image credit: YouTube screen shot, Bleacher Report.