NBA Commissioner Adam Silver has reaffirmed that for next season, the players’ jerseys will not have messages of social causes amid the low ratings the basketball league is experiencing.
“My sense is there’ll be somewhat a return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor,” said Silver, “and I understand those people who are saying, ‘I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game,'” as reported by the Washington Examiner.
At the beginning of the 2019-2020 season in Orlando, the NBA as well as the National Basketball Players Association announced the implementation of social justice messages on the players’ jerseys seeking to impact various issues concerning U.S. social problems.
However, the approach taken by the league has only brought loss and discontent among sports fans as the season has seen a declining audience rating, reaching the worst in five years.
According to the Daily Caller, the third game of the season between the Miami Heat and the Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday, Oct. 4, drew an average of 4.395 million viewers.
While the second game averaged 4.5 million viewers and the first game had an audience of only 7.41 million people.
The sports newspaper Outkick reported, “The NBA’s new self-inflicted identity is written in ink. Millions of turned-off Americans associate the NBA with radical politics catered to only a minimal number of sports fans.”
Messages that are loaded with political content and leftist ideology will soon be off the courts, said Silver, who also said he understood those who don’t care about such messages and only want to watch a basketball game.
According to a Harris survey, 39% of sports fans said they were watching fewer NBA games, while 38% said the league was too political, and 19% blamed the league’s submission to China.
Both 57% of Republicans and 22% of Democrats said the league was too political.
The NBA’s commitment to become a forerunner of just causes last season also had its exceptions, even more so when it comes to China and the Chinese Communist Party and this became evident once the NBA’s online store denied the possibility of the jerseys carrying the message “FreeHongKong.”
By then Sen. Rick Scott (R-Fla.) wrote via Twitter: “More evidence of the @NBA’s shameful cowardice and unwillingness to stand up for human rights in China. This is mind-boggling. The NBA and its players have chosen profits over human rights. They’re siding with Xi and the CCP over those fighting for their freedom.”
In early October 2019, Houston Rockets owner Daryl Morey had to delete a tweet saying he supported the demonstrations for democracy in Hong Kong and then apologize.