Sportress of Blogitude

Steve Kerr: ‘No easy answer’ for NBA’s return to action amid social unrest

The NBA has made its return-to-play plan official, yet some obstacles remain in light of some players having expressed skepticism over the timing of the league’s plan to have 22 teams descend upon the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando, Fla. in July.

Some of the reservations arise out of player concern over the risks associated of games being played amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Another worry, however, is inspired by some players expressing hesitation over returning to play amid the social unrest and burgeoning Black Lives Matter movement inspired by the death of George Floyd on May 25 while in Minneapolis police custody.

As one of the league’s worst teams during the 2019-20 season, the Golden State Warriors won’t be part of the NBA’s return to action. Warriors head coach Steve Kerr, however, recognizes the issues the league must confront amid a coalition of NBA players — led by Brooklyn Nets star Kyrie Irving — questioning the wisdom and optics of the league’s restart plan.

Kerr believes the NBA is well-positioned to tackle the obstacles presented by the players’ recent articulated unease over a resumption of play during widespread social outcry over racial and social injustice.

“There’s no easy answer. I think the only thing you can do is to do what the NBA has always done, which is to listen to listen to its players, communicate with them and collaborate,” Kerr said Monday on 95.7 The Game, as transcribed by NBC Sports Bay Area. “And I think that’s one of the great advantages that the NBA has over other sports, is that there’s a real partnership, especially when it comes to social issues.” 

Kerr is one of the most outspoken individuals in a league that encourages its players and coaching staffs to use their voices to weigh in on social and political issues, however polarizing. This stance has led to NBA commissioner Adam Silver being widely regarded as the best leader in all of the major professional sports leagues.

It’s hardly surprising that Kerr believes the NBA can now rely on its attempts over the years to foster an environment of trust for players, and that will help the league navigate this latest storm.