Date of Completion
Julian Saint Clair
The summer of 2020 marked an important turning point for the contemporary civil rights movement Black Lives Matter (BLM). The rest of the world started to take notice and protests happened around the globe following the murder of George Floyd in May 2020. Although there is a long history of sports activism, the National Basketball Association had previously been reluctant to take a stance on BLM as an organization. Following the murder of yet another unarmed Black man, Jacob Blake, every single NBA player refused to play in their playoff games from August 26th through the 28th. Previous research has been done in athlete activism, but virtually all prior contexts have been athlete’s speaking up as individuals or small groups. My review of the literature suggests that prior to August 2020, league-wide strikes have been used solely for labor disputes in all major sport leagues, making the BLM strike unprecedented and a critical point in the movement. In my thesis, I will use both a financial and marketing lens to examine what a league-wide player strike such as this means from different stakeholder perspectives: athletes, management, shareholders, fans, and society. I expect to find that while most fans are enthusiastic about athlete and organizational activism, management is still apprehensive in terms of the conflict it creates among NBA supporters. Additionally, my analyses suggest that the publicity gained from the strike and NBA involvement with BLM in general resulted in a significant boost in engagement with both the BLM movement and the NBA.
Armstrong, Chiara and Saint Clair, Julian, "Black Lives Matter. The NBA Strike and Its Effect" (2021). Honors Thesis. 359.