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In an unprecedented move in professional sports, Kyrie Irving and Lakers guard Avery Bradley are leading a coalition of players against the restarting the 2019-20 NBA season.

Besides the coronavirus pandemic, the players are concerned that resuming basketball season, the attention will be taken away from the issues of social injustice that have plagued the country for centuries, but have recently been at the forefront of the American citizens’ priorities.

The purpose of the coalition is to provide a voice for the professional basketball players who’ve had a hard time readjusting amidst the current racial and social climate in the U.S.

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The coalition issued the following statement to ESPN: 

“We are a group of men and women from different teams and industries that are normally painted as opponents, but have put our egos and differences aside to make sure we stand united and demand honesty during this uncertain time.

Native indigenous African Caribbean men and women entertaining the world, we will continue to use our voices and platforms for positive change and truth.

We are truly at an inflection point in history where as a collective community, we can band together—UNIFY—and move as one. We need all our people with us and we will stand together in solidarity.

As an oppressed community we are going on 500-plus years of being systemically targeted, used for our IP/Talent, and also still being killed by the very people that are supposed to ‘protect and serve’ us.

WE HAVE HAD ENOUGH!

We are combating the issues that matter most: We will not accept the racial injustices that continue to be ignored in our communities. We will not be kept in the dark when it comes to our health and well-being. And we will not ignore the financial motivations/expectations that have prevented us historically from making sound decisions.

This is not about individual players, athletes or entertainers. This is about our group of strong men and women uniting for change. We have our respective fields, however, we will not just shut up and play to distract us from what this whole system has been about: Use and Abuse.

We are all fathers, daughters leaders and so much more. So what is our BIG picture? We are in this for UNITY and CHANGE!”