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Clippings: Lou Williams is ‘50-50’ on resuming the season

The Clippers sixth man wants to keep the focus on the Black Lives Matter movement.

Los Angeles Clippers v Houston Rockets Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Last week, Lou Williams said that he thought the NBA coming back would be a “distraction”, one that would impede social movements aimed towards combating systemic racism. The prospect of being a distraction has led Williams to consider his participation if and when the NBA does return.

In a virtual chat hosted by CoStar, Williams said that he is “50-50” on playing out the rest of the season:

“Because it looks like that we don’t care. If we do suit up — and we are having conversations behind closed doors — how much of this platform can we really use? Can we get a Black Lives Matter patch on our jersey? Can our jerseys say Black Lives Matter? Can the court say Black Lives Matter? So we can use that platform to the best of our abilities. Honestly, it is hard to call. I’m 50-50, to be honest with you.”

The NBA has attempted to assuage the players’ concerns about keeping the protests alive even when they are in Orlando, and there is an argument to be made that the players’ voices will be magnified if they are all together making a collective statement. Doc Rivers and his son Austin both believe that the platform the league provides will benefit the players in impacting social justice.

That being said, the amount of air space that even a stupid NBA argument takes up — consider what happened this weekend when Lou Williams was compared to a bench player on the Lakers — corroborates Williams’ point that basketball can be a distraction from important issues. After being starved of real sports content for months, people may unconsciously forget the outside world if the NBA is back.

Williams has a point, Rivers has a point, and the entire discussion has been a useful exercise in keeping the league accountable, if nothing else. There is no wrong answer here. Each individual player deserves his space to make a decision. Credit to Williams for contributing to the cause thus far and for making a thoughtful choice on how best to proceed.

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