An advocacy group is calling on the NBA to put its money where its mouth is.
New York-based nonprofit Worth Rises took out a full-page ad in Sunday’s New York Times and called on the league to force out Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores because he owns prison telecom company Securus.
“If Black Lives Matter, what are you doing about Detroit Pistons owner Tom Gores?” the advertisement said.
The group alleges that Securus “rakes in more than $700 million annually by price-gouging families — disproportionately Black, Brown, and low-income — struggling to connect and support incarcerated loved ones.” The company charges more than $14 for a 15-minute phone call in some cases.
The NBA endorsed the Black Lives Matter movement during its 2019-20 season restart, including painting the phrase on its courts and allowing players to wear social justice messages on the backs of their jerseys.
“[Gores’] business stands in complete tension with the notion that Black Lives Matter, and that’s something he has to reckon with,” Bianca Tylek, founder and executive director of Worth Rise, told ESPN.
A spokesperson for Gores’ private equity firm, Platinum Equity, said that “[Gores] is directing any personal profits from Securus to reform efforts in this area.” Platinum Equity acquired Securus for $1.6 billion in 2017.
The NBA said it has been in “regular communication” with Gores about Worth Rises’ concerns.