Black Lives Matter: Basketball England's response and next steps

Basketball England has been in a period of listening and consultation about the Black Lives Matter movement and racism following the protests and widespread debate around the issue this summer. 

Further developments are being planned to bring about action.  

The horrific murder of George Floyd in the USA in May has prompted intense discussion about the issue of racism and equality within the diverse community of British Basketball. 

Basketball England acknowledged in June that more needs to be done by the organisation to fight racism and to reflect and serve the game which features so many contributors and participants from the Black, Asian and Minority Ethnicity (BAME) communities. 

BE CEO Stewart Kellett issued a statement outlining the organisation’s position and he, along with others within the NGB, have undertaken numerous conversations and discussions with individuals and organisations within the game on how best to move forward. 

A collaboration with Footfire and uNDERRATED aims to amplify online discussion further and provide an opportunity for individuals to share their experiences and ideas. 

Online conversations such as the Below the Rim podcast featuring players Rheanne Bailey, Ishmael Fontaine, Will Reid, coach Greg Mpofu and BE Board director Benny Bonsu, and, a BE podcast with Fontaine, have informed and enlightened discussions at Board level.  

Basketball England has taken some initial actions alongside ongoing conversations, while preparing some wider next steps. The organisation is also seeking further feedback from the basketball community.

Initial developments

  • Statement from BE CEO Stewart Kellett 
  • Ongoing discussions with players - including a group of current and former GB veterans - coaches, clubs, board members and organisations 
  • Collaboration with Foot Fire and uNDERRATED to build on the online profile of the debate 
  • Improved and more accessible online function to report all forms of discrimination to BE - which can be found HERE 
  • Provision of anti-racism resources on the BE website - which can be found HERE 
  • Influence on funders to be part of the solution to create fairer levels of resource to support the sport 

Next steps 

  • Continue discussions with the basketball community, seeking greater female input 
  • Set up board and staff sessions with external expert facilitators/educators to gain a greater understanding of race equality issues and anti-racism 
  • Consider ways to continue long-term engagement that facilitates best practice 
  • Fill vacancies on the BE board and staff with a proactive intent to better reflect the diversity of our membership 
  • Understand the barriers to recruitment for paid and voluntary positions in all aspects of the game 

Further aims, actions and outcomes 

Initial discussions have identified three key areas for actions and methods to bring about improvement within Basketball England.  

  • Equality – Listen to the BAME community and understand what is needed; elevate, celebrate and promote BAME voices and issues; be trusted to represent the whole community fairly and consistently; be responsive to concerns with a clear, promoted, transparent process for assessing and dealing with anti-discrimination claims; encouraging everyone in the game to challenge discrimination and promote and equality at every level of basketball.
  • Education – for board, staff, coaches, officials, players and wider stakeholders; better understand identify and tackle unconscious bias and systemic racism; understand how to be anti-racist rather than simply non-racist; use online courses, speakers, shareable resources to further improve positive behaviours and standards in relation to applying the BE Code of Ethics and Conduct. 
  • Representation – increase opportunity for a true reflection of the playing community within Board, staff, regions, working groups, RTMs, consultation; promote and target education/access to qualifications, progression and appointments.

Stewart Kellett, Basketball England CEO said: 

“I want to reassure the membership, and all engaged in basketball, that the national governing body is listening and is active in taking this matter extremely seriously. Basketball in England has a strong and natural appeal to the most diverse community in sport. We should be proud that the game we love achieves this and together we can achieve greater levels of equality and fairness for everyone. Collectively we should be a role model for other sports. However, there is more to do to make our own sport more accessible at every level in the playing, coaching, officiating, volunteering and administrative dimensions - voluntary and paid.    

“There is an urgency to take action, so we have listened and responded with a number of immediate steps in the short-term. We also want to understand what the lasting solutions are so all future approaches are inclusive and work for the basketball community. These are highlighted in brief with our statement today and we would like everyone to feedback in support of the things that will make a difference and share any other thoughts important to you and the game. 

“Many of the actions we are proposing are about the governing body doing things differently, other actions are about encouraging reflection, greater awareness and education across the whole game. We also believe that basketball stakeholders who have roles in funding, broadcasting, supplying services, and the elite part of the game have really influential roles to play, and we will be engaging these as part of a drive for equality.”  

We want to hear feedback from members and people in the game. If you have ideas, concern or comments please click to button below to submit them to us using the button below.