In the aftermath of another shooting of a black man, this time in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the NBA playoffs have come to a halt. And not just the NBA… Teams from the WNBA, the MLB, MLS and even Tennis players in the midst of the US Open have opted not to play.
On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake was shot in the back by police as video shows him walking to his SUV. He is currently in the hospital reportedly in critical condition, paralyzed by his injuries.
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted game 5 of their first round playoff series against the Orlando Magic stating that “Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings…Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball. 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.”
Shortly thereafter, Game 5 between Houston Rockets/Oklahoma City Thunder and Game 5 between the LA Lakers/Portland Trail Blazers were canceled as well. On Wednesday night, The Lakers and Clippers have both reportedly voted to end the season, with meetings between players and owners scheduled to continue on Thursday.
Players from around the NBA sent out tweets voicing their thoughts.
Speaking with TIME Magazine, John Carlos – the sprinter who raised his fist with Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics – had this to say: “When we brought our fingers together to make that fist, it showed the power of unity… It’s not about Black power. It’s about people coming together, humanity coming together. Understand? The Milwaukee team is coming together and saying, ‘Hey man, enough is enough.’ You can only cry so much. You can be in agony only so much, man. When you sit back and think about s–t like this, you know what the majority of Black people, what they’ve been saying for so long? Oh f–k! That’s the extent of what they can do because they can’t do anything else. They’re not going to break the law. They’re not going to knock some white man in the head based on what happened to a Black man. They just have so much frustration that they want to explode. So they scream out, ‘f–k!’ And they aren’t screaming f–k in a calm, gentle sort of way. They’re screaming, ‘oh, f–k’ in pain, agony… It took a lot of individual courage to say, ‘Hey man, I vote that we boycott. I vote that we step back.’ And remember this. They’re stepping back from something they love. They’re stepping back from a situation where they may have turmoil relative to their contracts and commitments. But all that s–t goes out the window, man, when you get to the point where you have to scream ‘Oh f–k.’”