The power of consumer culture and corporate followings cannot be understated, as we saw with the economic blackballing of the Indiana earlier this year after Republican “family values” hypocrite Gov. Mike Pence signed an anti-gay “right to discriminate” law in his state. The backlash was so swift and so damaging that the law existed for barely week before Pence was forced to backtrack.
It’s a lesson that we should remember as the National Basketball Association declares its intention to wade into the national debate surrounding firearms and how to best deal with the epidemic of gun violence. The NBA has paired with Everytown For Gun Safety, a gun control advocacy group founded by former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and will air a number of advertisements during their marquee Christmas Day basketball games calling for an end to gun violence in America.
The ads will focus on the victims and will not advocate any policy changes, but the message is clear – we lose far too many lives to gun violence every year. Any attempt to rein in gun violence is implicitly an attack on NRA, which fights tooth and nail against any kind of measure to reduce gun violence, refuses to consider even minor inconveniences to gun owners – and are thus complicit in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Americans every year.
The ads will also feature players, including rising superstar Steven Curry of the Golden State Warriors, throwing the full force of the league behind the campaign. The New York Times reported that there was little internal debate as to whether or not they should participate. The league’s president of social responsibility, Kathleen Behrens. said “we know far too many people who have been caught up in gun violence in this country. And we can do something about it.”
Indeed, far too many Americans have been caught up in the countless massacres and shootings that take place in America every year. 2015 has been an especially bloody one. We applaud the NBA for doing the right thing and empowering the reasonable gun reform lobby with the kind of corporate power that the National Rifle Association wields with an iron fist.
Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.