Sunday, September 13, 2020

Why There are no Fans at the NBA Bubble

The National Football League began its season on Thursday night, at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City.  The plans for the league this season allow each home team to decide if, and how many, fans will be allowed to attend the game in person.  The home town Chiefs allowed 17,000 fans to attend, I believe about 25% of stadium capacity.  Jason Whitlock writes:

The booing you heard at Arrowhead Stadium Thursday night isn’t hard to understand.

Black Lives Matter is toxic and divisive.

The booing occurred prior to the game, when the fans were asked to observe a moment of silence for racial unity.  The fans know that the message isn’t about racial unity, no matter the flowery fluff offered as a cover.

I have long been a fan of Whitlock, but until recently have not found him on a platform easy to follow.  He and his partner, Clay Travis, are writing some of the most sensible words when it comes to the intersection of sports, BLM, and the insane response to the corona.  Their platform can be found here.

Whitlock points to the nonsensical statement, that the BLM movement has been mostly peaceful, writing, sarcastically:

You know what? Most of the time in the 1950s and 1960s segregationists did not respond with loosed water hoses, batons and dogs at civil rights protests.

Bull Connor, the racists Commissioner of Public Safety for the city of Birmingham in the 1960s, was “mostly peaceful.” Members of the Ku Klux Klan didn’t lynch, beat and harass the overwhelming majority of black men and women they encountered. The KKK was “mostly peaceful.” Studies revealed 95 percent of Klan rallies are peaceful.

Thereafter, Whitlock points to how sports – by just being about sports – has helped Americans bridge racial divides.  He is right – or at least this was right until recently.  Somewhere in between the time of Michael Jordan’s “republicans buy sneakers, too” and LeBron James’ “we are scared as black people in America” – not scared by black on black murders, but on so-called police violence, which occurs in infinitely minuscule relative numbers (and primarily, if not solely, under conditions of resisting arrest or otherwise threatening the officers.

Instead, and driven by the athletes and the corporations and media that give them platforms, today sports are being used to tear the country apart.

BLM inspires racism, ideological polarization and hostility toward Christian values and American patriotism.

Whitlock has been spot-on about this, even regularly labeling the movement as Marxist.

I’m more concerned about the people inside Arrowhead Stadium who didn’t boo. They’re the people afraid to tell athletes you can’t end racism with racism.

So, why the title about basketball when it comes to a post about football?  I haven’t watched either this year, and don’t intend to (a big change for me), but from what I have gathered the divisive messaging in the NFL is like small change compared to what is happening in the NBA.  The NBA has cloistered its holy ones, keeping them separate from the serfs.  They are in a bubble – no fans allowed, all of the games in Orlando.

They are kept safe from the boos, protected by a pretext of a virus.  After Thursday night, I wonder if the NFL might wish it took the same approach.  It will be interesting to see how this progresses at other stadiums today and in the coming weeks.


It shouldn’t be lost, ratings for the opening Thursday night NFL game were at a ten-year low.  Many excuses are offered for this performance, few will point to the fact that a large portion of their potential viewing audience may not want to be reminded for three hours about their unpardonable sin.


  1. The ratings for the NFL have been dropping since Kaepernick started kneeling, what 5 years ago?

    For ratings to be lower, says there is a big problem. Maybe someday advertisers will start paying way less for TV spots. Paying fans are now way down. With decreasing advertisement dollars this house of cards is going to fall soon I would think, OR player salaries will regress to the national mean.

    Problem solved. No one listens to working class people.

    1. Both the NBA and NFL determine overall player compensation based on a formula derived from revenue - primarily ticket sales and TV contracts. In both case, these have taken a hit: fewer games in the NBA, fewer - or no - fans in the stands in both.