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Warriors, NBA Hope League's First Election Day Holiday Encourages Voting

Dubs hope NBA’s first Election Day holiday encourages voting originally appeared on NBC Sports Bayarea

SAN FRANCISCO — In its ongoing effort to appease players generating billions in revenue, the NBA over the summer took a bold step that, in the name of all that is fair, will inspire a national trend.

The league decided it will make Election Day a company holiday.

After a 15-game schedule involving every team on Monday, all 30 basketball courts will go dark on Tuesday.

This is not so much a political statement but an attempt to satisfy socially aware players while nudging America closer to its centuries-old unkept promise of liberty and justice for all.

Count Brandon Schneider, president and chief operating officer of the Warriors, among those pleased to see the NBA join companies addressing the lack of participation that statistically places voter engagement in the United States among the worst in developed nations around the globe.

“It’s a great trend,” Schneider told NBC Sports Bay Area. “If we can have everyone in the country voting, we have the best chance of getting the right outcomes.”

Though several politicians have proposed making Election Day a federal holiday, and President Joe Biden has expressed support for the idea, no such bill has passed. Only five states have made Election Day a public holiday, requiring employers to guarantee paid time off.

The other 45 states are, literally and figuratively, all over the map. Nine consider Election Day a public holiday but do not demand employers offer PTO, and 17 – including California – require hourly PTO for voting but do not consider it a holiday. The other 19 states, and Washington, D.C., do not consider it holiday and are not required to offer PTO.

Though some companies, like Coca-Cola, have given employees a full day of PTO on Election Day, it’s a company-by-company decision for most of the country.

The NBA has made its call.

“We all realize the opportunity that we have with the platform as a league but also as teams,” Schneider said. “Bringing it all together, all 30 teams within the league, to really have an impact is important.

“This is something that’s been talked about within the league for a long time. I can speak more specifically to the Warriors. We want to use our platform to encourage our fans and everyone watching Warriors games to vote. To make your voice heard. To be involved in the issues that are important to you.”

The Warriors, as a franchise, have held voter-registration drives, including players, within their headquarters, previously in Oakland and now in San Francisco. The Oakland facility atop the downtown Marriott hotel will be a drop-off location for ballots on Tuesday.

It must be stated, lest it offends the “stick to sports” crowd, that this is a nonpartisan decision. This is about voting, about getting involved, not about campaigning for a particular candidate or proposition.

“A lot of people want to go to watch our games and be involved in sports to get away from everything in life,” Schneider said. “We don’t want to get in the way of that. We’re not taking positions on issues.

“We have wanted to do as much as we can to be additive to the process.”

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NBA commissioner Adam Silver has been supportive of activism among the league’s coaches and players. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich and Warriors coach Steve Kerr have been outspoken on issues.

Stephen Curry has been involved with the Lincoln Project – formed by Republicans against the re-election of former President Donald Trump – and also been a co-chair for When We All Vote, an initiative conceived by former First Lady Michelle Obama in 2018.

When the Warriors face the Kings on Monday, they will be among the 15 games providing opportunities to promote the NBA’s decision.

“That’ll be an important day for all of us to spread that message,” Schneider said, “so it’s fresh in people’s minds and they’ll go to the ballot box.”

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