By Antonis Sroggylakis/ firstname.lastname@example.org
In a historic decision, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott Game 5 of the 2020 NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake, a black man, by policemen in Kenosha, Wisconsin, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Bucks general manager Jon Horst said that the players will be staying in their locker room for a while and that there will be an official statement later, per multiple reports. Vice president Alex Lasry tweeted: “Some things are bigger than basketball. 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”
Earlier on Wednesday (26/8), it was reported that players of the Boston Celtics and the Toronto Raptors met to discuss the possibility of sitting out Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinals matchup for the same reason. Raptors coach Nick Nurse said that he heard some of his players talking about returning home in the aftermath of Blake’s shooting.
On August 23, Blake, a 29-year-old man, was shot seven times on his back by policemen while returning to his car after trying to break up a fight. The officers shot Blake when he opened the door of his driver’s seat to enter the vehicle where his three children were sitting. A family attorney said that Blake has been paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the shooting.
Since the emergence of the video of the shooting, several NBA players and coaches expressed their anger and frustration over another incident of excessive police violence against black people, a few months after the murder of George Floyd. When it comes to the Milwaukee Bucks, veteran guard George Hill wondered out loud if the players should’ve come to Orlando to play the rest of the season in the first place and asked if the games turn people’s attention away from social and racial injustice matters. Hill also hinted on a potential boycott, saying that: “Until the world gets their shit together, I guess we’re not going to get our stuff together.”
“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back,” Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers said while visibly emotional in a post-game presser after the win in Game 5 over the Dallas Mavericks. “It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color. It’s just really sad. We got to do better. But we got to demand better.”
The NBA and the NBPA later announced that in light of the Bucks’ decision, all Wednesday’s matches have been postponed and will be rescheduled. Wojnarowski reported that all NBA players in the Orlando bubble are invited to a meeting for a discussion on their next move following Wednesday’s boycotts.