It looks like the NBA is finally taking the president’s advice.
NBA commissioner Adam Silver confirmed earlier this month that the pro basketball league will be giving up its outward social justice messaging in favor of what The Federalist described as a “more ‘off the court’ approach.” The move came just weeks after President Donald Trump blasted the NBA for being “highly political,” insisting that “people are tired of watching” it, as The Guardian reported.
Trump wrote in early September:
People are tired of watching the highly political @NBA. Basketball ratings are WAY down, and they won’t be coming back. I hope football and baseball are watching and learning because the same thing will be happening to them. Stand tall for our Country and our Flag!!!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 1, 2020
“A return to normalcy”
Speaking with ESPN’s Rachel Nichols earlier this month, Silver suggested he was glad to see various NBA teams and players speak up about social justice and racial inequality. “I would say, in terms of the messages you see on our court, on the jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time when we began the discussions with the players, and what we all lived through this summer,” he said, according to The Federalist.
But going into the 2020-2021 season, the NBA commissioner said things will be changing.
“My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor,” he said, as The Federalist reported.
Silver went on: “We’re completely committed to standing for social justice and racial equality, and that’s been the case going back decades. It’s part of the DNA of this league. How it gets manifested is something we’re going to have to sit down with the players and discuss for next season.”
Eyes on the ball
According to Fox News, the NBA commissioner’s comments come as the league is slipping in the ratings. Just days after Silver’s interview, Game 6 of the NBA finals drew in just 6.028 million viewers, according to Breitbart — less than a third of the viewership seen in Game 6 of 2019’s season finale, which brought in 18.34 million viewers.
Perhaps it was these numbers that pushed Silver to make an adjustment.
“I understand those people who are saying ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game,’” he told Nichols, according to Fox.
It remains to be seen, however, whether Silver’s move has come too little, too late.