Inside the NBA, “Fuck this, Man!!! We demand change”
NBA players boycott games over the police shooting of Jacob Blake



From a reader:

Something unprecedented is happening in pro sports in the U.S. On Wednesday, the NBA (National Basketball Association) players boycotted all three playoff games scheduled that day in protest over the shooting of Jacob Blake by Kenosha, Wisconsin, pigs. This is a huge development—players from a professional sports league boycotting games en masse against injustice.

The boycott is being led by the Milwaukee Bucks, who play about an hour away from Kenosha, where Jacob Blake, unarmed and walking away from cops, was shot seven times in the back and now is in serious condition, possibly partially paralyzed. As their game with the Orlando Magic was about to start, the Bucks players stayed in their locker room. The Magic players eventually left the court.

After a three-hour meeting, the Bucks players made a statement to the press, read by two the team members, including George Hill, saying in part, “The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities…. We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable…”

Following the lead of the Bucks’ players, the players from the Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland Trailblazers announced they also would not play on Wednesday.

Wednesday night, all the NBA players held a mass meeting. The Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted to boycott the entire playoffs. All other teams wanted to continue playing. LeBron James of the Lakers walked out of the meeting and was followed by all the Lakers and Clippers players. The players decided to resume their meeting on Thursday morning, which most likely means that no games will be played on Thursday. One player commented that if the Lakers and Clippers won’t play, how can they still have the playoffs?

Since the shooting of Blake, players, coaches, and even some league officials have been angrily speaking out. LeBron James tweeted out “F*** this, Man!!! We demand change.” Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets, who is having a fantastic playoff run, tweeted out, “We Demand Justice!”

Khris Middleton of the Milwaukee Bucks said, “I mean, I think this is why we have so many people outraged all over the country. The man was shot seven times at point-blank range in the back. It doesn’t get any sicker than that.” George Hill, also of the Bucks, said, “This world has to change.”

Jaylen Brown, a star Boston Celtics player, had been part of Black Lives Matter protests before the NBA restarted its season in the midst of the pandemic. After the Jacob Blake shooting, Brown expressed his desire to leave the playoffs and get back into the streets. When asked what he was going to do if he left, he answered, “Be in the trenches.”

Doc Rivers, coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, whose father was a cop, gave an emotional post-game press conference on Tuesday night. With tears welling up in his eyes, he said, “Just watching the Republican Convention and the spewing of fear. Like all you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones that have been denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot…. And it amazes me why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back…. How dare the Republicans talk about fear. We are the ones that need to be scared…”

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) players joined in with the NBA players to boycott all their games on Wednesday. All the WNBA players gathered in the middle of the court and took a knee. The players for the Washington Mystics, in a powerful statement, made T-shirts with the letters of Jacob Blake’s name on the front and seven holes in the back of the shirt to represent the seven shots to Blake’s back.  

The voices of outrage and protest are also being raised among other pro sports. The coach of the National Football League Green Bay Packers spoke out, condemning how the police murders of Black people keep happening “over and over and over again” and that “we can’t stand for this any longer.” Five Major League Soccer (MLS) games were canceled because the players decided not to take the field. The Milwaukee Brewers of Major League Baseball announced that they would refuse to play their game on Wednesday. And Seattle Mariners players said they voted unanimously not to play their game against the Padres in San Diego. The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers called off their game in support of the protests. Holy shit—this has even gotten into baseball.

Kenny Smith, former NBA player and one of the hosts on the TV sports show The NBA on TNT, walked off the set in protest. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal, also former NBA stars and the other hosts on the show, did not leave the set.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka pulled out of her semifinal tennis match at the Western Southern Open being played in NYC to support the NBA players’ boycott and to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake. She said, “Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman.” Soccer star Megan Rapinoe, who has refused to stand for the national anthem, tweeted a shout-out to Colin Kaepernick for “starting this revolution” four years ago. Kaepernick, who was the NFL San Francisco 49ers quarterback, kneeled when the national anthem was played before a game—and since then has been kept out of the sport by team owners and has been the target of attacks by Trump and others.



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