In a profound and deliberate expression of protest against the ongoing violence against Black Americans in this country, particularly in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake at the hands of police, the Milwaukee Bucks decided they would not take the floor for game 5 of their playoff series vs. the Orlando Magic.
They decided the game would not be played, not with Blake’s shooting happening in their home state of Wisconsin on the forefront of so many of their minds, not while they, members of a predominantly Black workforce for a league that says they understand that “Black Lives Matter”, has any say in it.
Soon after the Bucks/Magic game was cancelled, the Rockets and Thunder said they too would not play tonight. And now the Lakers and Blazers have decided the same. The NBA then released their own statement:
I’m not going to parse the league’s language here, though I’d have preferred they say why the games were cancelled so everyone understands and so it cannot be spun in any given direction.
The players, carrying a weight on their shoulders of playing sports away from their families during the COVID-19 pandemic while the inequities of race and class and oppression and brutality at the hands of the police have a national spotlight on them, decided they’d had enough. Had enough of words not accomplishing as much as they’d like. Had enough of not being in their own communities, being able to be on the ground floor of the protests so many of them participated in before departing for Orlando to resume playing the game they love.
So, they protested in the only way they could at this point. By not playing at all. And I commend them for it.
I’ve never been more proud to be an NBA fan.
I do not know when the games will resume, if they resume at all. There’s already talks that Thursdays games could also be cancelled and the NBA and players are scheduled to meet this evening in the Orlando bubble to discuss how they can move forward. Whatever is decided, though, the players will have my support.