How can the San Antonio Spurs organization impact the fight for social justice?
By Dylan Carter
The NBA players are calling on their governors and organizations to do more in the fight against racial injustice and the San Antonio Spurs can do more.
Without procedures being put in place for the league to aid its players in the fight against the systemic oppression of Black people in the United States, there would be no league restart. These men represent a small sector of a much larger population of people who aren’t afforded the luxuries or platforms that basketball provides for NBA players. Fighting the good fight is nothing new for players and staff members of the San Antonio Spurs.
Star wing DeMar DeRozan was pivotal in leading a march in his hometown of Compton, CA before heading to the Orlando bubble. Head coach and franchise mastermind Gregg Popovich has been outspoken on issues of racial injustice and politics over the last decade. Players and staffers have shared their perspective on the matter through the ‘Spurs Voices’ video series.
Now, NBA players are calling on their team governors and organizations to be better. After the Milwaukee Bucks’ strike in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, the rest of the players followed with resounding support. Now, the Spurs have to take a long, introspective look at themselves from the top-down to see how they can back their players.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich: Time to decide "the decent America we all thought we had and want is more important" than Pres. Trump's conduct. pic.twitter.com/ImnHDOP43b
— ABC News (@ABC) September 25, 2017
During an interview with former Spurs beat reporter Jabari Young, Spurs Sports & Entertainment (SS&E) CEO R.C. Buford noted the organization is “articulating our vision and our messaging is going to be important.” Words are good and fine, but players won’t accept it unless the higher-ups in the Spurs organization take action.
For starters, the Spurs can push to turn the AT&T Center into a polling site for the 2020 General Election, opening its doors to hundreds of voters. This would assist those in low-income areas who don’t have access to a wide range of polling options. It will take some serious pressure from SS&E as the AT&T Center is technically a publically-owned arena. Therefore, the organization needs to put its foot down to convince local officials to help that initiative.
For Spurs chairman Peter J. Holt, the son of former-chairman Peter Holt, it’ll take some harsh decisions. To stand with his players and align with the legacy his father left as the leader of this organization, Holt needs to combat his mother’s values and take a stand with his players. Former Spurs chairwoman Julianna Holt, Peter’s mother, was the only businesswoman in South Texas to meet the limit on campaign contributions in 2016. According to the San Antonio Business Journal, she gave nearly half a million dollars to support President Donald J. Trump’s campaign.
The Holt family deserves some credit as they haven’t once stepped in to combat Popovich’s many criticisms of the man they helped get elected. If they did, there’s a serious chance that Popovich would walk out of that door and never look back. However, it’s time to use this family’s influence to push for change. With that much money donated to Trump’s campaign and PACs, they must exercise their network to represent the players and coaches who stand for San Antonio.
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During his well-spoken segment in the ‘Spurs Voices’ series, Holt made note of his place in it all. The third member of his family to hold this position with the organization. Peter acknowledged his racial and financial privilege before addressing that he, as leader of the Spurs organization, can be a catalyst for change.
“As an organization, we believe we can do more to help address the systemic racism in our society and we embrace his opportunity,” Holt said. “Leadership is not defined by title or status — It is defined by purpose, behavior and action.”
His words are kind and seem sincere, but now is the time for action. Holt needs to hold his parents and peers accountable for their place in the state of this country. As the leader of this organization, his name holds weight and power in San Antonio. The value in his name alone could get him into places with powerful people, who he can appeal to based on the knowledge, information and understanding of his players and staff. In a capitalistic society like ours in the United States of America, the top one percent of earners are a limited pool of individuals who control most of the government and business for roughly 328 million Americans. I’m sure everyone wants to believe that Holt means what he’s saying. Unfortunately, statements like these are oftentimes empty.
Unless Holt is willing to put his resources on the line to fight for racial justice, his words are meaningless in the fight for truthful equality in the United States of America.