Michele Roberts Rumors
Silver said he also heard from the NBA’s Players Association’s executive director Michele Roberts after the incident with Westbrook. Westbrook is the Wizards’ alternate rep to the NBPA. “Their leadership team was working with us to make sure we do everything we can to prevent incidents like that from happening going forward,” Silver said.
“The normal pressures that every player has had to contend with have been increasing in proportions that frighten me, frankly,” says Michele Roberts, the executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA). She adds that more players have called her about mental health resources in the past eight months than in her previous seven years on the job. “They’re expected to go out two or three times a week, perform at the highest level, and at the same time be husbands, fathers, boyfriends, sons, and on top of that deal with normal consequences of living in a pandemic. … We as a community don’t allow athletes the space to be vulnerable, and that’s wrong. They have as much right to be vulnerable as the rest of us. And in some ways, unlike many of us, they’ve got more reasons to be vulnerable.”
Michele Roberts: And while some people are not of the view that there is systemic racism in this country that needs to be addressed—and there are people in our league that feel that way—those voices have not have not suppressed those of us who feel otherwise. So my hope is that the league will continue to honor the rights of our players and coaches and owners, who do think it’s incumbent upon the business to allow for the continued expression of people’s views. And I hate to see us go backwards. S–t, I remember when the [WNBA] women were fined for wearing warmup shirts. It was rescinded and that’s never happened again. The fact that we have gone from a period of four or five years ago, when basketball players were fined for being “out of uniform” to where last summer, guys were able to express themselves on their jerseys. In my view, that is nothing other than progress. I think in some ways, we’ve even maybe pushed football a little bit further than they had been before. The NBA players should take credit for, frankly, being the most progressive sports league on the planet.
Michele Roberts: I’m not as committed to the analytics of this stuff as the league is, because the players say to me—and this is just common sense—if I’m playing more games in fewer days than I ever have in my life, and I’m getting older. And I’m watching fairly significant players on teams having serious injuries, some of which have been season ending, i’m not going to dispute the players who say to me, Look, this season has taken a greater toll on my body. Whether or not that’s translated into the numbers. I don’t know. Maybe more players are playing hurt than they were before. So my own personal view is this has been a more physically challenging season than prior seasons. All I know is that no one intends to ever have to go back to a season with this kind of compressed schedule ever again, if we can avoid it. Maybe we were being ambitious to think we could get 72 games in.
Michele Roberts: The things I can control have been communicated to the players and they’ve made decisions. So let me start with the All-Star game: no control. All-Star is something that’s within the complete discretion of the league. It is not something that the union can veto or otherwise prohibit. Once the decision is made to have the game, we can certainly engage in the conditions of play. But the decision to hold the All-Star game, to have All-Star weekend, we had no role in that. And if the players didn’t understand that, they certainly were made to understand it by me and others. It’s not our call. So all the b—hing about the game—call Adam, because I had nothing to do with this. They didn’t want to play. They wanted a break, but it wasn’t our call. So I just wanted to make sure that the conditions under which they would play were going to be safe.
Michele Roberts: With respect to the play-in, frankly, that was something we could we could and we did negotiate. Players that were complaining? They had every right to complain—especially if you were a seven or an eight seed. No play-in and you would be relaxing right now, I get it. But there were teams that had a chance to be able to make it that felt differently. The only thing I’m concerned about is when we do have a voice in making decisions, those decisions are made by the governing body not Michele Roberts. Everything is run past the players and there is a direction that’s provided to the union. Will everybody in the union agree with it? Of course not. That’s okay. We’re not a monolith. Q: There were definitely some players who wouldn’t have complained if they were the fifth seed. Michele Roberts: That’s probably true. The players that complain about it are largely players in it. They’re saying If not for this nonsense I’d be at home enjoying a glass of wine. But I have no problem with that level of discontent, because it’s genuine.
Brian Lewis: NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and #NBA Commissioner Adam Silver released this joint statement: “George Floyd’s murder was a flash point for how we look at race and justice in our country, and we are pleased that justice appears to have been served…”