Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the Toronto Raptors are currently seeking a temporary relocation to the United States because of international travel bans Canada has put in place. After rumors stirred about the NBA team searching for a new home, influential members of Kansas City, Missouri, have offered to host the squad. However, several civil rights groups have warned the organization about the possible move to the Show Me State, as reported by Yahoo Sports.
The idea of the club coming to Missouri gained massive momentum after Chiefs superstar quarterback Patrick Mahomes tweeted an invitation for the squad to join him in Kansas City, according to a report from Sports Illustrated.
Additionally, the town’s mayor, Quinton Lucas, stated he would be excited to invite a basketball team to KC.
“I think [it] could be a great host for the NBA,” the 36-year-old said.
However, some people disagree with the potential relocation. In a letter written to the league’s commissioner Adam Silver, three different civil rights organizations expressed their concerns about the basketball club coming to their hometown. The detailed letter noted that although the Raptors coming to KC would be a huge honor and generate significant revenue streams, the negative reputation of law enforcement may outweigh the potential positive impact.
“The protection of Black lives remains our most pressing concern,” they wrote.
“Law enforcement has demonstrated extreme hostility and excessive force towards Black people,” they added to their argument.
The protestors also specifically called out the chief of police and the mayor for not taking the issues as seriously as they should and fighting them head-on.
Shortly after receiving the letter, the police department and Mayor Lucas responded via a series of statements.
“We have much work to do in ensuring all our Black neighbors feel safe in all interactions with law enforcement. Regardless of our future with the NBA, we remain committed to that essential work,” the community leader wrote.
Kansas City and its officials believe they are ready to welcome Toronto, noting that there is already an arena available for them to play in. They also mentioned that the TV market is larger than several other cities with professional basketball squads like Milwaukee and Memphis.
“I’d love to see how the Raptors would perform on local cable,” Lucas stated.
Other potential relocation sites in the United States include Louisville, Buffalo, Newark, and Seattle. There has not been an official statement regarding which town the Raptors are leaning toward or even when they’re planning on making an official decision.