The new NBA season has barely started, and the league is trying its best to come back from the disastrous television ratings that they earned last season dues to divisive, racist politics.
Following the NBA finals’ horrific ratings, commissioner Adam Silver and owners aimed to move the league’s focus away from the social justice messaging. Still, it’s not as simple as removing the Black Lives Matter propaganda from the courts.
The league’s problem continues with activist players and white liberal coaches like Steve Kerr, Greg Popovich, and Stan Van Gundy, who have made it difficult for fans to watch basketball without being subjected to lectures that they might be racists.
Van Gundy serves as the head coach of the New Orleans Pelicans, and he gave an interview with ESPN’s The Undefeated before the season openers. He portrayed himself as a “poster boy for the white privilege” and claimed that white people are racists.
“We’re the ones that are racist,” Van Gundy told The Undefeated during the interview. “It’s a white person’s problem that affects people of color, and so we’re the ones who have to change.”
“Certainly, you want to promote Black voices, right?” he continued. “But if they’re the only ones speaking out, a lot of people push it aside. There need to be people saying, ‘No, wait a minute. This doesn’t seem right, and we need to correct these things’.”
“I’m a poster boy for white privilege,” he added. “I’ve led a privileged life, so I only know about these issues, and these problems, and these inequities from people I’ve been associated with, work with, know, care about. I don’t carry the issue. But just because something doesn’t happen to you, if it’s happening to people you know, if it’s happening to people you care about, you care about the issue.”
The NBA opened their 2020-2021 season on Tuesday night to their highest ratings in three years. After the social justice messaging was brought down, the league’s ratings went back up.
“The NBA’s Opening Night doubleheader averaged a Nielsen-estimated 2.87 million viewers on TNT Tuesday night, up 1% from last year (2.85M), up 2% from 2018 (2.82M), and the most-watched Opening Night since 2017 (4.88M),” Sports Media Watch reported.
Sadly, it won’t be as easy as that. The league’s hopes that fans would return once the BLM message was downplayed were dashed when the NBA’s Christmas Day television ratings showed otherwise.
It might have just been that people didn’t want the league’s politics to ruin their holiday, but it’s still not a good start for a season where the league hopes to make its comeback.