The Sacramento Kings were no strangers to social activism last season. Protests outside Golden 1 Center impacted fans’ ability to attend games, and drew the Kings into a larger conversation regarding society. Garrett Temple was an outspoken social advocate both in the community and online, but his departure to the Memphis Grizzlies doesn’t mean the Kings will lack players willing to speak up for what they think is right. Marvin Bagley III recently spoke with Sports Illustrated after attending the NBA’s Rookie Transition Program, and it’s clear he intends to use his platform and his voice.
“There have been times where I wanted to say something about certain things, but I was hesitant to speak out because I didn’t want anything to happen,” Kings rookie Marvin Bagley said. “But seeing a guy like LeBron speak up and use the platform he has, it’s definitely something I want to do. I don’t want to be afraid to say what I have to say.”
The Kings haven’t said anything official about Bagley’s comments, but it’s safe to assume they’ll be supportive. The team encouraged their players’ efforts last season, owner Vivek Ranadivé spoke in support of protesters in the wake of Golden 1 Center being locked down for security, and the team partnered with the Build. Black. Coalition following the protests.
I know some sports fans, regardless of their personal politics, would prefer that players stick to sports. Sports are an escape, and in stressful times it can be frustrating when your escape reminds you of the world outside. But the Kings and the NBA are encouraging their players to use their positions of influence. One note that was highlighted in the SI story is that the Rookie Transition Program specifically helps athletes understand how to best use their platform.
Here at Sactown Royalty our site rules prohibit political discussions in the comments, primarily because we’ve seen time and time again that we’re incapable of civil discussion on such volatile topics. But when a Kings player speaks out or when a social situation impacts the Kings, we’ll cover it. We’ll also do our best to limit that coverage to posts specifically on that topic. Please be civil in those threads, whenever they may pop up.