The boycotts continue to grow as all NBA players in the Orlando Bubble have been invited to a meeting tonight to discuss where things go from here (UPDATES BELOW)
By Daniel Paiz
It started out with a mention by Toronto Raptors’ guard Fred VanVleet. Then Milwaukee Bucks’ forward George Hill hinted at player frustrations surrounding the recent shooting of Kenosha, WI man Jacob Blake seven times in the back. After team meetings and discussion, the Milwaukee Bucks decided to not leave their locker room of Game 5 of their first round matchup with the Orlando Magic.
Soon after, the Magic joined the Bucks in boycotting the game. When one domino falls, the others follow. In addition to these two, the Toronto Raptors, Boston Celtics, Portland Trail Blazers, Los Angeles Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets have all followed suit. The three games scheduled today were all Game 5s; Toronto-Boston tomorrow was to be Game 1 of their second round matchup.
It remains to be seen if tomorrow’s two remaining games, Game 6s between the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz, and Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers respectively will still go on. As mentioned above, players will have a meeting shortly at 6PM MST to discuss future plans to be taken. Whether or not tomorrow’s games take place, it’s clear NBA players and teams aren’t the only athletes who are ready to take further action on police brutality.
UPDATE: Only the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted to cancel the remainder of the season. All other teams voted to continue the current NBA postseason.
UPDATE: The Denver-Utah and Los Angeles-Dallas Game 6s scheduled for Thursday have been postponed. The players have voted to resume the playoffs, but no date has been selected. It’s believed games could resume this weekend, nothing has been confirmed.
Other professional league teams join the boycott
Right after the eight NBA teams listed above have decided not to play today, another Milwaukee franchise joined the protest. The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds have agreed to not play tonight in support of protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake. Other MLB teams are also discussing boycotting, and more news tonight will follow this situation.
UPDATE: Five WNBA games have been postponed this evening to coincide with said protest. The Major League Soccer league also postponed five games this evening. The Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants have shown to be the MLB teams striking, along with various players across the league. The NHL playoffs have also been postponed, as hockey players have in solidarity decided to join other leagues currently protesting.
Before jumping to the conclusion of “what do athletes have to be so concerned about? They’re millionaires!” let’s think about the impact these actions have. Professional athletes using their platforms to bring awareness and that can lead to action being taken faster.
It by no means is the only way action will happen when it comes to addressing the issues of police brutality, racism, and legal policies that are questionable at best. However, it does mean more people will be aware of the issues at hand. More awareness leads to an uptick in interest and an increase in civic involvement. When the people become more aware of a situation, ideally it’ll lead to pressure.
It’s naïve to think that sports and politics aren’t interconnected
Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the ’68 Summer Olympics, and Colin Kaepernick come to mind when mentioning sports and politics. To think that these two are mutually exclusive is like thinking apples and pies can’t be put together. Whether you like it or not, everything impacts everything.
Whoever sits in the Oval Office influences who Saturday Night Live satirizes. Whatever popular TV show out influences a pop culture reference in a speech by an elected governor, mayor, etc. Colin Kaepernick had discussions about kneeling during the national anthem with a Marine. That Marine suggested this as opposed to sitting during the anthem, as a more respectful way of protesting. A double standard still exists.
When the public reacts or protests legislation or actions they deem unnecessary or inhumane, they can be arrested, assaulted and even killed. When law enforcement and those in positions of power react or take some kind of action, at worst they are fired from a job. This inequality in power is unacceptable and is why more and more people are becoming civically engaged. Protesting is not illegal (yet, anyway). Voicing your opinion is also not illegal (again, as of yet). Recognizing your own power and platform as these athletes have is commendable.
When you get angry at athletes for how much money they make, you are falling into line. Think about how much team owners make. Think about how much professional leagues make, as well as the media conglomerates that show the competitions and advertisements during said events. Billions versus millions of dollars is a very big difference.
Check back here for further updates after the Players’ meeting takes place tonight in the Orlando Walt Disney bubble.
UPDATE AS OF 5:25PM MST TIME: Milwaukee Bucks players issue a statement about the current boycott here:
UPDATE AS OF 5:38pm MST TIME: The WNBA will postpone three regular season games Wednesday evening that had been scheduled for tonight.
UPDATE IN PAST HOUR OR SO: TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith, a two-time NBA champion and former player, walks off set of NBA on TNT.
UPDATE AT 7:03pm MST TIME: MLS postpones five games due to protest of police shooting of Jacob Blake.
UPDATE AS OF 8:08pm MST TIME: Tennis star Naomi Osaka is protesting her semifinals match tomorrow in the Western & Southern Open, penning the reason why here: