Austin Rivers Says NBA Players Can Use Restarted Season Salaries to Support Black Lives Matter

The Rockets guard disagrees with Kyrie Irving on the NBA's return becoming a distraction from the protests

Austin River BLM
Austin Rivers in action against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden on March 02, 2020.
Mike Stobe/Getty Images

The NBA’s return to action isn’t quite a done deal yet, as a handful of high-profile players still disagree with the decision given what is happening across the country. After Kyrie Irving said on a conference call with players that the NBA could take attention away from the police brutality protests, Houston Rockets guard Austin Rivers suggested that players could use the money from the restarted season to support the Black Lives Matter movement.

According to ESPN, Rivers took to Instagram to reply to Irving’s concerns, first shrugging at the suggestion before offering a concrete way that the league restarting could actually help the BLM movement:

Us coming back would put money in all of our pockets. Rivers continued. With this money you could help out even more people and continue to give more importantly your time and energy towards the BLM movement. Which I’m 100% on board with. Because change needs to happen and injustice has been going on too long.

Rivers also said that while he support Kyrie’s passion for the movement, he thinks it’s short-sighted to shut down the potential NBA season when both can go on concurrently:

It’s admirable and inspiring. I’m with it … but not at the cost of the whole NBA and players’ careers. We can do both. We can play and we can help change the way black lives are lived. I think we have [to]! But canceling and boycotting [a] return doesn’t do that in my opinion. Guys want to play and provide and help change!!!!

Irving wasn’t the only player to raise concerns about the timing of basketball’s potential return; Clippers 6th man Lou Williams said the same on Twitter, calling games a potential distraction from the fight for racial equality:

For their part, the league released a basic statement saying that it understands “the players’ concerns and [is] working with the Players Association on finding the right balance to address them.”

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