The NBA announced Wednesday it will postpone Game 5 of three different series in response to the Milwaukee Bucks decision to boycott their playoff game following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in the team’s home state of Wisconsin.
Jacob Blake And NBA
Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back by police on Sunday as he tried to enter his vehicle in Kenosha, Wisconsin. His shooting became the latest incident to prompt outrage nationwide over racial injustice and police brutality.
“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games — Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers — have been postponed,” the NBA said in a statement. “Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.”
Representing the six teams slated to play on Wednesday, Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams announced that WNBA players are standing in solidarity with “our bothers in the NBA” and will also not play. The ESPN2 broadcast showed players from the six teams scheduled to take the court in locked arms and kneeling while wearing shirts spelling out Jacob Blake’s name.
The Bucks game against the Orlando Magic was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. at Disney World in Orlando. The Bucks did not emerge from their locker room before the scheduled tip. The game broadcast on NBA TV reported the players sat out in protest.
Playoffs Postponed Due To Players Boycotting It
Several NBA players were asked about the possible boycott over the last 24 hours. Many said it was being discussed.
Strikes are banned under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, which means the Bucks players broke their own contract in order to protest racial injustice and police violence.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Bucks players’ said they are “calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. “
“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings,” they said in a statement.
“Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
They called on the Wisconsin State Legislature to “reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.” They also encouraged people “to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”
Support From Players And Owners
The team received support from many, including its senior vice president Alex Lasry.
“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Lasry wrote on Twitter. “The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”
The Bucks owners said that they did not know about the decision beforehand, but said they “would have wholeheartedly agreed with them.”
Dinan said in a statement. “The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”
In a statement, the Orlando Magic also issued their support.
“Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color,” the Orlando Magic said.
Players Using Their Platforms
The Bucks spoke with the family of Jacob Blake ahead of the boycott, said Patrick Salvi Jr., a lawyer representing the Blake family.
“They told Jacob’s parents that they were behind them 100%,” Salvi told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer. “They expressed their sympathies and empathies for what has occurred.”
In return, Blake’s parents — Julia Jackson and Jacob Blake Sr. — asked the Bucks to use their platforms to “accomplish peace” and “encourage people to protest in nonviolent ways,” Salvi said.
Some players had already been using their platforms to voice their opinions about how not enough is being done to combat racial injustice.
Throughout the season, many players have dedicated their post-game interviews to Breonna Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT was shot multiple times in March by police.
Last week, the Los Angeles Lakers were seen wearing red hats, which looked like MAGA hats worn by supporters of President Donald Trump. But the text on the hats reads: “Make America Great Again Arrest The Cops Who Killed Breonna Taylor.”
Bucks forward Sterling Brown, who was tased and arrested in 2018 after an altercation stemming from a parking violation, filed a lawsuit that year against the city of Milwaukee, the police chief and the eight officers involved in his arrest
According to Brown, he was offered a $400,000 settlement from the city, which he rejected.
“The city of Milwaukee wanted to give me $400,000 to be quiet after cops kneeled on my neck, stood on my ankle, and tased me in a parking lot,” Brown wrote in an article for The Player’s Tribune, which was published in July. “But here’s the thing: I can’t be quiet. I rejected the offer because I have a responsibility to be a voice and help change the narrative for my people. In order to do so I have to tell my story, so dialogue and conversations about police brutality can help influence and change a corrupt system. It goes deeper than me just illegally parking.”