As talks aimed at salvaging the first two weeks of the NBA’s regular season continued today between officials for the league and players, the NBA Players Association borrowed a play from the NFL Players Association.
NBA players, urged to use social media to get their message out, were tweeting “Let Us Play” — the very same solidarity slogan used by NFL players — to their vast audience of Twitter followers. Derek Fisher, president of the NBAPA, made the request in a letter to players Sunday night and, according to a source, had been in touch with George Atallah, assistant executive director of external affairs for the NFLPA. By midafternoon, Atallah had tweeted to Fisher and NFL players: “We are with you. NFL players, let’s show our support.”
The letter, obtained by Sports Illustrated, reads, in part:
Chris Paul and I will also be utilizing our personal social networking channels to show the fans and you all, that we are united and want to get back to work under a fair deal.
On Monday, Chris and I will tweet and post “LET US PLAY.” This was used by the NFL players and many will be joining us on Monday and retweeting the same message to show their support for our players. I will also be using the hash tag #StandUnited after all my messages until this lockout is over.
We invite you each to do the same. To show our unity and to remind the fans that this is not our choice and we would like to go back to work and play the game they love to support.
My twitter is @DerekFisher and Chris’ is @OneandOnlyCP3. Please feel free to send me yours so we can support each other.
Steve Nash, Carmelo Anthony, Kevin Durant, LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and others tweeted the message to their millions of followers and were responding to fans who tweeted them back. By early afternoon, “Let Them Play” was trending nationally on Twitter.
Representatives for both sides met for more than five hours Sunday and were meeting again today in New York to try to reach agreement on a deal that would end the lockout of players that began July 1. Differences over revenue sharing and the salary cap are among the significant issued still to be resolved. At stake are the first two weeks of the regular season, set to begin Nov. 1.