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NBPA head Michele Roberts strongly reacts to backlash over increased player empowerment

Michele Roberts

The apparent shift in power in the NBA has taken its fair share of criticism. For some folks, it just isn’t right how players now hold so much power that they are able to demand where they want to play. Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association, is having absolutely none of this.

The high-ranking executive blasted this notion, which she believes to be utterly unfair and biased:

“There’s just a perception that owners have rights and players don’t,” Roberts said, via Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated. “I mean it’s unfortunate that we tend to, on some levels, continue to view players as property as opposed to people. And so, you allow for a certain flexibility as you exercise your property rights that somehow appear to be more compelling than a player’s individual freedom.

“And I can’t figure it out except that there is still this perception that you are property, the team is property and I can manage my property any way I want. If you think that property rights are significant, then they must think you have to believe that individual liberty is significant, but not as significant? So, in my view, more significant. I don’t know why, and it could be because there’s some issues involving race and class and a number of things, but I don’t know that I know why it is. I just know that it is.”

It’s hard to argue against Michele Roberts here, who is able to present a very valid point. The landscape of the NBA has indeed shifted, and perhaps its time we all accept that players are no longer the voiceless chess pieces they once were.