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NBA play-offs to resume on Saturday after player-led protests

NBA players who boycotted games as part of a protest against racial injustice and police brutality have agreed to resume the playoffs on Saturday, the league and players association (NBPA) said on Friday.

The decision ends a three-day halt in action as part of a players-led protest that was sparked by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and led to game cancellations in other sports as well.

The agreement was announced a day after players, coaches and team governors had a candid discussion regarding the next steps to further collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality.

As part of the agreement, the NBA and its players will establish a social justice coalition that will focus on a broad range of issues, including increasing access to voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.

Teams who own and control their stadiums will also work with local elections officials to convert the facility into a voting location for the 2020 presidential election to allow for a safe in-person voting option for areas vulnerable to Covid-19.

The league also said it will work to include advertising spots in each NBA play-off game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections and raising awareness around voter access and opportunity.

“These commitments follow months of close collaboration around designing a safe and healthy environment to restart the NBA season, providing a platform to promote social justice, as well as creating an NBA Foundation focused on economic empowerment in the Black community,” NBA Commissioner Adam Silver and NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts said in a joint statement.

“We look forward to the resumption of the play-offs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”