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Adam Silver’s true thoughts about ‘Black Lives Matter’ allegedly affecting NBA ratings

Adam Silver, NBA

Amid the praises heaped on the NBA for the successful restart and conclusion of the 2019-20 NBA season in Orlando, Florida, it wasn’t enough to bolster the ratings of the league which has dropped considerably over the last few years.

Critics believe that the NBA’s decision to fully support the Black Lives Matter movement negatively affected their ratings. But for NBA Commissioner Adam Silver, there’s no such data to support this claim.

In a lengthy interview with ESPN’s Bombani Jones via GQ, Silver dismissed the assertion that the NBA’s social justice advocacies caused the drop in popularity. He also questioned if people decrying the league were real fans in the first place.

“Now, some people might suggest that the words Black Lives Matter are causing massive amounts of people to tune out the NBA. There’s absolutely no data to support that. And in fact, as I said, there’s no doubt there are some people—and whether or not they were truly our fans to begin with is unclear—who have become further engaged with the league because they believe in our players and they believe in the positions they’ve taken, even if they don’t agree with everything they say. They respect their right to speak out on issues that are important to them.”

The NBA expected a boost in the ratings given the stay-at-home restrictions enforced in most countries amid the COVID-19 pandemic. But the forecast completely went south as the 2020 NBA Finals featuring the Los Angeles Lakers and the Miami Heat only garnered an average of 7.5 million over six games. This was a massive 51 percent decline from last year.

Other major sports leagues such as the NFL and the MLB, which wasn’t as vocal as the NBA with regard to the Black Lives Matter movement, also experienced declines in ratings.

Silver already said last October that they will remove all Black Lives Matter messages in home arenas next season.