Hats off to writer Robert Silverman and The Daily Beast as they’ve come up with a searing piece called “The NBA Is Fake Woke.” The essence of the story is that the NBA has received plaudits for its so-called progressivism, but if you look a bit closer at the pro sports league and you’ll find precious little evidence.
Trust us. This one’s more than worth the read. Here’s an excerpt:
It was a small imposition of authority by the NBA in the grand scheme of things, but a revealing one.
Over the summer, J.R. Smith, the oft-shirtless Cleveland Cavaliers shooting guard, added a brand new tattoo to some of the few square inches of canvas available on his person. This time he went with a literal brand, inking the logo of the lifestyle and clothing company Supreme across the back of his right calf. The NBA refused to let this combination of self-expression and unpaid sponsorship go unpunished. Should Smith fail to cover up the logo while on the court, he’ll be subject to ongoing fines.
Smith isn’t alone. Los Angeles Lakers guard Lonzo Ball has the logo of the Big Baller Brand, the company founded by his ur-sports dad, tattooed just above his right elbow. During the preseason, Ball avoided a fine by neatly concealing it with a square bandage.
Why is the NBA micromanaging players’ body art? Well, the NBA has a slew of corporate partners and advertisers, many of whom have their logos embossed directly on team jerseys. Per league rules, players rocking potentially conflicting trademarked imagery is a no-go, either via a tattoo or creative haircut. It could interfere with the direct flow of commerce, you see, and so the NBA won’t stand for it, even if it means making it perfectly clear that this business retains the final decision-making power over its employees’ skin.
Cold, hard financial realities aside, that’s still a terrible look for the NBA, which over the last half-decade has leaned into the skid of progressive politics. More to the point, the sport has been packaged as a place where #Resistance-minded folk who’ve grown weary of the NFL’s honking militarism and inherent brutality can park their entertainment dollars without sullying their conscience.
This, of course, is a branded lie. As the 2018-19 season kicks off tonight, what better way to celebrate than by letting go of the notion that a sports league is somehow woke. In reality, the NBA is a multi-billion-dollar entity whose sole motivation is profit, full stop.
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