free speech, press release, communication, warriors

Photo by David Everett Strickler on Unsplash

By Brandon Keller

This past Saturday, the Golden State Warriors issued a press release on the news that Donald Trump had withdrawn an invitation for the current NBA Champions to visit the White House, but it’s not clear whether or not Trump actually invited the team in the first place. Stephen Curry recently asserted that he and the Warriors don’t support many of Trump’s statements, so the President issued a Tweet claiming that Curry was hesitating and was therefore uninvited.

In his statement to the press last Friday, Curry explained that not visiting the White House could bring about useful discussions about tolerance and social justice. Curry also expressed his desire to show support for activists such as Colin Kaepernick, whose controversial protests against standing for the national anthem has raised awareness about issues such as systemic racism and police brutality toward African-Americans.

Professional athletes have a unique platform from which to make their voices heard, and the Warriors reflected that opportunity in their press release. The team wanted to have a discussion about a potential visit to the White House. However, Trump made the possibility of a productive conversation impossible. He refused to give the Warriors a chance to share their views on racial oppression with him directly.

Therefore, the Warriors took it upon themselves to promote dialogue with the public themselves. A key intention of press releases is for an organization to communicate a useful piece of information on a current issue or event. Communication is only constructive and educational when a dialogue exists rather than the one-way directives that Trump has made a hallmark of his political life.

Instead of visiting the White House, the Warriors will visit the nation’s capital in February when they travel to play the Washington Wizards. According to the press release, the team will use this visit to “celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion — the values that we embrace as an organization.” Not only did the Warriors inform the public of their intentions not to meet with a White House marked by intolerance; they also used their platform to promote dialogue and inclusion for communities negatively affected by Trump’s policies and racially divisive rhetoric.

Organizations and the public should strive to treat communication as a two-way dialogue in which everybody gets an opportunity to express their concerns, hear each other out, and celebrate their differences. This type of communication fosters understanding, openness, and inclusion that shouldn’t be dismissed or rejected, especially by people of great influence. The Warriors proved with their press release that they believe American citizens, including professional athletes, have the right to peacefully protest issues that matter.

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