Setting the Bar
The Sacramento Kings have become the first major professional sports organization to partner with Black Lives Matter in a move that demonstrates to the city, and the world, that the collective voices of the movement reeling from the unlawful are in fact being heard. Sacramento has been left shaken from the unlawful killing of 22-year-old Stephon Clark, and protestors have banded together and effectively turned the city upside down.
The Uproar of a City
While this isn’t the first unlawful killing of note in California’s capital city (see Mann, Joseph), the aftermath to Clark’s passing has made way for unprecedented circumstances in the city of Sacramento. As the entire world watched, BLM protestors took their voices to 500 David Stern Walk and ensured their voices were heard by disrupting and delaying the Kings’ March 22 match versus the Atlanta Hawks, and other games that followed. In addition, BLM made sure their impact was felt in the heart of the city by shutting down the Interstate 5 (I-5), with their protest, in a bold move that reverberated across the nation and made national headlines.
What’s most groundbreaking, is the overwhelmingly positive response from the Kings and Chairman Vivek Ranadive.
“We, here at the Kings, recognize that we have a big platform,” said Ranadive, during his halftime speech last Thursday. “It’s a privilege, but it’s also a responsibility. It’s a responsibility that we take very seriously. And we stand here before you, all young, black, white, brown, and we are all united in our commitment.”
The reality of the matter is that the Kings have suffered financially since the protests began over two weeks ago. Thousands of fans have been shut out from the games, which has caused a lot of uproar among Kings fans. The Kings, however, in a transcendent move that may seem polarizing to some-embraced the Black Lives Matter movement, showing solidarity and a commitment to the protection of Black Lives not only in Sacramento, but across our nation.
Sending a Message
By partnering with Black Lives Matter, the Kings are acknowledging that there is indeed, a very serious issue with how Law Enforcement has systematically and unlawfully destroyed and taken the lives of Blacks and people of color. In addition, they are denouncing all foul, vile, and derogatory speech that has been wrongfully attributed to the BLM movement. As the 15th most valuable NBA Franchise, according to Forbes, the Kings have sent a message to the league as well as the rest of the world that they’re on board, and it’s time for others to follow suit. Time will tell as to if, or how long that will take to happen, but we can commend the Kings for taking the pivotal steps necessary to help heal the hearts and minds of a broken city.