By Ken Reed

Once upon a time, sport was one of the few institutions that brought people from diverse backgrounds together. Whatever your demographic, employment or political profile, you could count on a sense of unity when you went to the stadium or arena to cheer for the local team.

Those days are gone as the political divisiveness in this country has deeply infiltrated the world of sports. This is particularly the case in the NFL, with the national anthem controversy being Exhibit 1.

At the root of the problem in sports — and society in general — is a lack of respect and civility when it comes to human relations.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver and his league’s owners seem to understand that to a much larger degree than NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his owners. Silver, in particular, really seems to get it.

“Adam and his leadership, I do feel like we’re partners,” said Golden State Warriors coach Steve Kerr. “Players, coaches, management, the league’s management — I do feel like we’re all partners.”

Since Silver became commissioner a little more than four years ago, he’s worked hard to create a sense of inclusion and understanding with NBA players and their union regarding issues dealing with basketball-related matters, as well as off-court topics.

The result is a palpable sense of trust between players, owners and management in the NBA that you don’t get when listening to anyone associated with the NFL.

Trust and an open-mindedness to consider and appreciate the perspectives of others. That’s what separates the NBA from the NFL these days.

Ken Reed, Sports Policy Director, League of Fans


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