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Clippings: Negotiations surrounding the NBA’s return are heating up

Lou Williams and Patrick Beverley are speaking up for the Clippers.

Los Angeles Lakers v LA Clippers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

Over the weekend, NBA players met over a Zoom call to discuss their feelings about restarting the season amidst the social movements that have taken over the country in support of Black Lives Matter. Kyrie Irving, a VP of the Players’ Association, helped lead the call and said that he was not in support of playing and taking attention away from the issue of systemic racism.

Several players felt their voices had not been heard in the vote to approve the NBA’s proposal to restart the season. Reportedly, younger players felt intimidated to speak out against superstars’ support to play, which is why it was important that Irving — a superstar when not injured — was able to solicit the input of a broader set of players.

More than 80 players were reported to be on the call, but no Clippers were confirmed to be in attendance. However, Lou Williams made his feelings clear about what role sports play in the national conversation Saturday; Alicia wrote up how Williams believes basketball would be a distraction.

On Sunday, Patrick Beverley, who had said that basketball was not important on June 3, entered the discussion again with the following tweet:

There are a couple of ways of interpreting Beverley’s message. One could be that it doesn’t matter what the rank-and-file players feel about restarting the season — if LeBron James thinks the NBA should come back (and he does), then everyone else will have to fall in line behind the King. However, the tweet could also mean that if James believes that players can still have an impact on social issues while playing, then that is good enough for Beverley.

Negotiations will continue regarding the bubble set-up, safety procedures, and presumably the league’s policy regarding kneeling during the national anthem, which is currently forbidden. All that has been decided is that players and teams are in agreement on the format the NBA will use in Orlando. Everything else is still in the air.

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