The Detroit Pistons’ practice facility will serve as a satellite voting centre for elections this summer and fall.
The team made the announcement on Wednesday, stating that the public will be able to register to vote and cast their ballots at the Henry Ford Detroit Pistons Performance Centre.
The Pistons also said they would give all employees paid days off on two upcoming election days, August 4 and November 3, encouraging them to vote and possibly volunteer as poll workers.
“For me, when I think about George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Aubery and the others that have been murdered, I think of how the dead cannot cry out for justice,” Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem said in a conference call with media members. “It's the duty of the living to do so for them. In our discussion with our players, coaching staff, employees, it's how can we make ourselves heard and make our voices count. And to me, the vote is the most powerful way we can attack injustice and bring about change.
“It was with that in mind that led to our discussions with the (Michigan) Secretary of State and to come up with this partnership and find ways we could educate voters, make them aware, help them make sure their votes count and be civically engaged as an organisation, a team, a community and for a city that we care deeply about.”
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Pistons head coach Dwane Casey added, “Voting is such a right that sometimes I know the younger generation takes for granted, but for us older folks it's something that I remember when my grandparents couldn't vote and talked about [when they] couldn't vote. So, one reason why we're opening up, too, is to encourage everyone to get out and vote. That's a right, it's a privilege that we should never take for granted and also, too, if we want to impact change, that's one opportunity we have that we can impact change with.”
The Pistons announced that their players and coaches will participate in public service announcements focussed on voter registration and education. They also will tie their website to the state's Bureau of Elections to allow people to register online or apply to vote by mail.
The Pistons are the second NBA team to make a push toward increasing voter turnout. On Tuesday, the Atlanta Hawks announced that their home venue, State Farm Arena, will become Georgia's largest-ever voting precinct.
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