In regards to social justice, the NBA tried to do its part to bring awareness to social injustices done to black people by backing and advertising the “Black Lives Matter” movement. This included putting messages of social justice on shirts for warm-ups, not requiring anyone to stand for the National Anthem, and putting “Black Lives Matter” on the NBA court. During the Orlando Bubble, the NBA ratings were down. Some have speculated that it is because of the NBA’s stance on the issue. NBA Commissioner Adam Silver via Bomani Jones of GQ:
Now, some people might suggest that the words Black Lives Matter are causing massive amounts of people to tune out the NBA. There’s absolutely no data to support that. And in fact, as I said, there’s no doubt there are some people—and whether or not they were truly our fans to begin with is unclear—who have become further engaged with the league because they believe in our players and they believe in the positions they’ve taken, even if they don’t agree with everything they say. They respect their right to speak out on issues that are important to them.
Adam Silver makes valid points here about people becoming more engaged with the NBA just because of their stance. Also, it should be noted that ratings for the NBA could be done for numerous reasons like it wasn’t normal NBA time, more places to watch games, and the Orlando Bubble was only offered to a little more than half the league. In what has been a weird year, the NBA was weird too. Adam Silver has elected to remove the social justice messages on the court for next year. His reasoning via ESPN:
In terms of the messages you see on the court, on our jerseys, this was an extraordinary moment in time, when we began discussions with players and what we lived through this summer. My sense is there will be somewhat a sort of return to normalcy, that those messages will largely be left to be delivered off the floor. And I understand those people who are saying, “I’m on your side, but I want to watch a basketball game.”
Adam Silver points out to try to return to normalcy, after an unique year in 2020, I certainly can’t blame him.