Kansas City is one of the places that has popped up as a potential home to the Raptors next season if they can’t play in Toronto. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes wants it to happen.
Civil rights groups in the city sent a letter to the Raptors warning them about police brutality and social justice issues in the city, questioning if the NBA wants to be associated with that, reports KMBC News in Kansas City (hat tip Hoopshype).
Three civil rights groups in Kansas City are cautioning the NBA against considering KC as a temporary home for the Toronto Raptors for the upcoming season. The Urban league of Greater Kansas City, Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Greater Kansas City and the Kansas City, Missouri chapter of the NAACP wrote a letter to the NBA commissioner.
The letter says in part, “although Kansas City is a great sports city, it is also a city where law enforcement has demonstrated extreme hostility and excessive force towards Black people.” It also says racial profiling by police is a routine occurrence in Kansas City, and that city leadership has failed to take meaningful action with regard to “the police department and the police chief’s disregard for the humanity of Black people.”
Kansas City is a long shot to land the Raptors, but that is more due to geography than social justice issues. The Raptors play in the Atlantic Division with Boston, Philadelphia, New York, and Brooklyn. Location is why Newark makes a lot of sense for Toronto, but Buffalo also comes closer. While the shortened 72-game season may feature a more balanced schedule, that’s still a lot of travel to get to Kansas City from the eastern seaboard.
Social justice issues will play a role in the decision as well, it’s part of what sunk the idea of Louisville as the Raptors home (Louisville was home to Breonna Taylor, who was shot in her home during a police raid, leading to mass protests in the city). The letter about concerns in Kansas City will be heard.
It may just be another thing that ends up dooming the Raptors in KC.