The Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott their playoff game vs the Orlando Magic.
The Bucks were responding to Sunday’s police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha.
After 3 hours inside the locker room the Bucks exited as a team and held a press conference. Among speakers were George Hill and Sterling Brown.
The topic is particularly important for Brown, who had an incident with the Milwaukee Police Department in 2018. Officers forced him to the ground, shot him with a Taser and then arrested him following a parking violation in a Walgreens parking lot.
“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities,” Brown said. “Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings. Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we’ve seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
George Hill added: “When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement. We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable.
“For this to occur, it is imperative for 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. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”
Bucks center Brook Lopez later added to the conversation.
“I think the most important thing and the consensus was just not being complacent in these times,” Lopez said. “Just because we’re in the playoffs, in the bubble, there’s obviously, so many more important things going on right now. And this is huge.
“It’s a cultural moment where we all have to continue to be vigilant, continue to use our platform when we can to speak out against injustices like these, to speak for the people who can’t. And we can’t stop doing that. Because for some reason, these things continue to happen.
“It’s just, you sit back and how can this keep happening? And it’s scary. I can’t imagine being in that situation. This man’s children obviously being there watching that happen, just what’s going through their minds. I mean, it just comes to a point where it’s like it’s been too much for a long time now and there’s just too many names, way too many names that you keep hearing and we can’t forget them obviously. Breonna Taylor and George Floyd and everyone. Seeing these things reoccur again, it’s so tough.”
The players had the full backing of their owner and front office.
Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan also released a statement: “We fully support our players and the decision they made. Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them. 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.”
The Magic, in a statement, said: “Today we stand United with the N.B.A. 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 Bucks decision prompted the rest of the NBA games to join in and cancel the days games. But the Bucks gesture transcended the sport.
The Milwaukee Brewers join Bucks in protest of Jacob Blake shooting, sitting out their game vs. the Cincinnati Reds. The giant scoreboard beyond center field at Miller Park displayed 3 words:
Other MLB teams such as the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants joined in, canceling their game as well.
It was monumental to say the least, but the NBA appears to be heading into even rarified air as they discuss the potential of canceling the season completely.
The NBA, NBAPA, and the Board of Directors met on a conference call discussing how to move forward. It was a heated discussion. Players such as LeBron James and Chris Paul want the owners to do more in this fight for social justice.
Reports have come out that the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers have voted to cancel the entire season. While the rest of the teams have not gone to that extent as of yet, it just shows you how serious the players are about what is going on in the world today.
As early as the video was released of the shooting of Jacob Blake the NBA community were reacting.
“We can’t do anything,” Hill said after the Game 4 win on the day the video was released. “First of all, we shouldn’t even have came to this damn place to be honest. Coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we’re here, so it is what it is. We can’t do anything from right here. But definitely, when this all settles, some things need to be done.
“This world has to change. Our police department has to change. Us as a society has to change. Right now, we’re not seeing any of that. Lives are being taken as we speak day in and day out. There’s no consequence or accountability for it. That’s what has to change.”
LeBron James spoke after the Lakers Game 4 victory and said he couldn’t even enjoy the win as Jacob Blake weighed heavy on his mind.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers gave a heart felt, passionate post game interview after the Clippers win.
“Republicans keep taking about fear. [But] we’re the ones who’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. It’s amazing to me… why we keep loving this country and it doesn’t love us back.”
Doc Rivers emotional speech on police shooting of Jacob Blake https://t.co/26syrMWjtF
— Aisha Tyler (@aishatyler) August 27, 2020
So if the players choose to opt out of the season, I can only fully support their decision. And you should too.
If you can watch, cheer, celebrate and share in their pain on the court, you should share in their pain off the court and show empathy. Above all, these players are human beings first. A group that has been in a never ending battle to fight systematic racism, police brutality, and for equality.
I mean it’s been 4 years to the day that Colin Kaepernick took a knee for the first time, citing these exact premises. So I ask you this:
Do you understand now?