There is no more politically active sports league than the NBA.
But players’ anti-Trump and anti-national anthem protests alienated fans.
And now the NBA Commissioner took one shot at Fox News that you aren’t going to like.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver joined New York radio station WFAN’s Craig Carton for an interview about the state of the league.
The topic of the NBA players’ pro-Black Lives Matter and anti-Trump activism alienating fans as ratings were down compared to the last time the league played in front of buildings full of fans.
Commissioner Silver acknowledged that NBA players such as LeBron James’ left-wing political activism turned off fans as Republicans – and not just Democrats – watch basketball.
“Our goal is obviously not to lose fans over political positions players are taking,” Silver told Carton. “I recognize that there is a portion of our fanbase that is upset when players take positions. Now at the same time, I’m certainly not going to the sort of ‘shut up and dribble’ notion.”
Silver claimed that his hope was that the players and fans would respect their disagreement and move to support the game of basketball.
“I think we have to present ourselves in a way where hopefully, if players are doing their jobs on the floor, that even if people disagree with them, they respect them for being engaged in society and for having a point of view,” Silver added. “And that the players conversely respect fans who may disagree with them.”
Silver admitted the NBA’s number one focus needed to be the game on the court and not political protests.
“People at the end of the day are paying a lot of money to watch basketball played at its highest level,” Silver continued. “So we gotta find the right balance there in those issues.”
After the NBA turned in the lowest rated finals in history back in 2020, Commissioner Silver admitted the league went too far leaning in to anti-Trump protests.
The NBA removed Black Lives Matter from the court and the social justice messages off the backs of jerseys.
Sports leagues like the NBA are facing a choice.
They can submit to the runaway train of social justice political protests that many players and the sports media encourage.
Or they can be in the business of entertaining fans and growing their audience.
Sports with Balls will keep you up-to-date on any new developments in this ongoing story.