Kansas City built a downtown arena in hopes of landing an NBA or NHL team in 2007. With a chance to host one temporarily 13 years later, city civil rights groups are throwing caution to the Midwest wind. The Toronto Raptors are expected to relocate for the 2021 season because Canada closed its border with the U.S. due to rising American coronavirus infection rates. Three civil rights groups are warning the 2019 NBA champions and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver about considering Kansas City because of how city leaders have “failed to demonstrate that Black Lives Matter.”
“While having the NBA choose Kansas City as a home for the Toronto Raptors would be a huge honor, and excite NBA fans in Kansas City, as you understand, there are some issues which supersede fan and economic interests,” read the letter from the Urban League of Greater Kansas City, the Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City and the city’s NAACP chapter. “The protection of Black lives remains our most pressing concern.”
The letter said Kansas City law enforcement “has demonstrated extreme hostility and excessive force towards black people” and “racial profiling.”
Kansas City’s mayor cited Toronto, Chicago and Philadelphia in saying Kansas City had work to do, like many cities. The police department issued a statement saying that it would “ensure the safety of any sports teams” visiting.
The civic stances could cost the city because the Raptors already having been looking at Louisville, another city with a NBA-ready downtown arena.
Enter Patrick Mahomes. If the Chiefs quarterback can bring the Chiefs a Super Bowl, he can bring an NBA season to Kansas City for the first time in 35 years. “Bring them to KC!” Mahomes wrote in retweeting a report.
“Working on it,” Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas replied with a retweet.
Work harder, Kansas Citians said.