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Former NFL star Marcellus Wiley slams NBA for ‘polarizing’ plan to paint Black Lives Matter on courts

THE NBA’s reported plan to paint Black Lives Matter on courts when the season resumes did not sit well with former NFL player Marcellus Wiley, who called it polarizing.

Wiley, a host of FOX Sports 1’s Speak For Yourself, said on the show Tuesday that adding Black Lives Matter on the courts goes into the realm of “identity politics".

“We know what identity politics does - it divides, and it polarizes,” Wiley said.

“No matter how you want to look at it, that's just the effect of it, no matter how great the intentions are. We all know the road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

His comments came a day after ESPN reported based off anonymous sources that the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association intend to paint “Black Lives Matter” inside sidelines at three arenas in Orlando, Florida, where the 2019-20 season is resuming on July 30.

The WNBA is also considering marking “Black Lives Matter” on courts when it starts its shortened 2020 season in Bradenton, Florida, according to ESPN.

Since a Minneapolis police officer knelt on George Floyd and caused his death, sparking Black Lives Matter protests, some basketball players have demanded that racial equality be a focal point in resuming games.

A few NBA players have even indicated they do not want to return unless the league plays a part in pushing for social justice.

Wiley gave NBA players “credit for their flex,” but said the NBA’s reported plan was “not a good idea.”

"There's a problem when you start to go down this road of freedom of expression, freedom of speech, and how much social space is allowed for those who don't support in that same space,” Wiley said.

The former defensive end then raised some concerns about the Black Live Matter movement’s mission statement, while pointing out, “I'm a black man.”

Wiley said his life has mattered since he was born in 1974 and that he has “been fighting this fight for me and for others a lot longer” than Black Lives Matter, which was founded in 2013.

“Being a father and a husband, that's my mission in life right now,” Wiley said.

“How do I reconcile that what I just told you with this, the [Black Lives Matter] mission statement that says, ‘We dismantle the patriarchal practice. We disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement.’”

Wiley went on to criticize the movement’s mission to eradicate white supremacy, using himself as an example of how that is “digging through minutiae.”

“I'm on a show that I'm hosting with another black guy who is hosting with me who replaced another black guy, and that's just one example of it,” he said.

“So, I understand, I respect your space. I respect what you're protesting for. But will you respect others who don't support that same protest?”

The NBA, National Basketball Players Association and WNBA could not immediately be reached for comment by The Sun on Friday.

Wiley, born in Compton, California, played 10 seasons in the NFL for the Buffalo Bills, San Diego Chargers, Dallas Cowboys and Jacksonville Jaguars. While with the Chargers in 2001, he was selected to the AFC Pro Bowl team.

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