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Cavaliers, Indians, Browns form alliance to address social injustice

Cleveland’s NBA, MLB and NFL teams have announced the formation of an alliance that aspires “to develop a sustainable and direct strategy to address social injustice facing the city of Cleveland and all Northeast Ohio communities,” per a Thursday announcement.

The Cavaliers, Browns and Indians all shared the news on Twitter on Thursday morning.

The alliance is spearheaded by the heads of the three teams’ respective front office and coaching staffs: Cavaliers general manager Koby Altman and head coach J.B. Bickerstaff; Browns general manager Andrew Berry and head coach Kevin Stefanski; and Indians president of baseball operations Chris Antonetti, general manager Mike Chernoff and manager Terry Francona.

“We have an extraordinary opportunity to make a lasting impact on society, and the Cavaliers are committed to help bring about change,” Altman said in a statement. “The social and economic disparity in our community reveals some ugly truths, and Coach Bickerstaff and I are honored to be at the table to address these issues with such a prominent group of our peers. We never take for granted our place in the fabric of Cleveland, and hopefully our coming together inspires others to join us.”

Both Berry and Antonetti shared similarly themed statements related to the joint initiative, which can be read here.

The statement indicates that the alliance’s initial initiatives will focus on voting issues such as education and nonpartisan voter registration. Later, the Cavaliers, Browns and Indians will turn their attention to engaging local community and civic leaders as well as minority organizations in order to achieve the alliance’s stated goals.

Social activism targeting systemic racism, social injustice and police misconduct of course has been a large part of the NBA’s restart in Orlando and the MLB’s delayed opening of its abbreviated season. The recent shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Kenosha, Wisc., unsurprisingly inspired outrage in the NBA bubble.

Player frustration over Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot seven times in the back by officers in front of his children, boiled over Wednesday, leading to the postponement of all three playoff games scheduled for the day. Three MLB games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed as well in response.

Across the American professional sports leagues, particularly in the NBA, players have been forming organizations on their own that seek to raise social justice issues. Cleveland’s NBA, NFL and MLB teams simply are following their players’ lead.