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5 NBA Players Meet With Pope Francis To Talk Social Justice

5 NBA Players Meet With Pope Francis To Talk Social Justice

Five NBA players traveled to the Vatican to meet with Pope Francis on Monday.

In what is being described by many as an “unprecedented” gathering, Kyle Korver, Jonathan Isaac, Marco Belinelli, Sterling Brown and Anthony Tolliver had a private audience with Pope Francis to discuss their work on social justice issues.

Michele Roberts, executive director of the players’ union, also joined the players in attendance.

The meeting between Pope Francis and the players came about after the Pope’s assistant reached out to the NBA in hopes of learning about the league’s efforts to promote social change. He also wanted to know more about what they planned to do in the future.

Although the league is set to open training camp on December 1, the opportunity was one it felt could not be passed up. As a result, a quick trip was planned.

The get-together was scheduled for one hour at the papal library of the Apostolic Palace. Once it concluded all players and personnel involved toured St. Peter’s Square.

Although some may be surprised by the player representatives involved in this process there is actually a reason for these picks.

Brown and Korver were both members of a Milwaukee Bucks group that decided to sit out a playoff game against the Orlando Magic following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Their player-inspired boycott led to many similar actions across sports, and temporarily put the entire NBA season in doubt. When the boycott initially happened, the Bucks were unsure of whether anyone would follow their lead and operated under the assumption that they would simply forfeit their postseason showdown against the Orlando Magic.

Brown was also the victim of a high-profile case of police brutality. Back in 2018, eight Milwaukee police officers surrounded him outside a Walgreens to investigate a possible parking violation.

One ordered the NBA player to the ground and another used a Taser on him. In early November, Brown settled a civil rights lawsuit he filed against the city of Milwaukee and its police department after they agreed to a $750,000 payment.

Isaac, meanwhile, is an ordained minister and deeply religious. Toliver is the union’s secretary-treasurer.

All in all, it will be interesting to see if this meeting leads to the Pope somehow attempting to shine a bigger light on the issues near and dear to the heart of NBA players.

Related: Brian Flores Explains Why Tua Tagovailoa Got Benched

Anthony Amador

A recent graduate from the University of Texas, Anthony Amador has been credentialed to cover the Houston Texans, Dallas Cowboys, San Antonio Spurs, Dallas Mavericks and high school games all over the Lone Star State. Currently, his primary beats are the NBA, MLB, NFL and UFC.

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