“Boycotting the game has come up for them as a way to again try to demand a little more action,” Nurse told reporters, “and I think that’s really what they want. I think there’s enough attention and there’s not quite enough action, and I think that’s what I can sense from the discussion.”
The Bucks normally play their games at an arena that is a 45-minute drive north from Kenosha, Wis., where Blake was shot seven times in the back Sunday by a police officer. At the NBA’s bubble near Orlando, meant to give the league its best chance to continue operating amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, Milwaukee players refused to take the floor for Game 5 of their first-round series, in which they hold a 3-1 lead over Orlando.
Approximately an hour after that act of protest over racial injustice, the NBA announced that all three of its contests Wednesday, including first-round Game 5s in the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder series and the Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers series, would be postponed. New dates and times for those games were not immediately announced,
During a meeting of players who are upset by the shooting of Blake, an unarmed Black man, by Kenosha police, Yahoo reported that there were “multiple conversations about what actions could be taken.” Chris Paul, the Oklahoma City star who is the players’ union president, and the Miami Heat’s Andre Iguodala, the union’s first vice president, attended the Tuesday meeting.
According to Yahoo, players have been contacting the committee to say that they’re in no frame of mind to play.
“If we sit out a game or rest of the playoffs we understand the impact that’ll have. Everyone would talk about it,” the Celtics’ Jayson Tatum said Wednesday, according to The Athletic. “We’re more than just basketball players, we’re people. We have raw emotions.”
Bucks guard George Hill said Monday that NBA players “shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest” because playing in the bubble “took all the focal points off what the issues are.” Celtics guard Jaylen Brown, who participated in demonstrations after the death of George Floyd in late May, tweeted: “I want to go protest.”
“If we’re going to sit here and talk about making change,” the Raptors’ Fred VanVleet said Tuesday, “then at some point we’re going to have to put our [manhood] on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility. … What are we willing to give up? Do we actually give a f--- about what’s going on or is it just cool to wear Black Lives Matter on the backdrop or wear a T-shirt? What does that really mean? Is that really doing anything?”
Blake is hospitalized after having surgery. His family has said he is paralyzed from the waist down. The incident sparked another night of violence Tuesday in Kenosha.
Los Angeles Clippers Coach Doc Rivers put the anger into words in an emotional news conference after the team’s Game 5 win Tuesday over the Dallas Mavericks, calling for police unions “to be taken down” and advocating new police training programs.
“Just watching the Republican convention, and they’re spewing this fear,” Rivers, 58, said. “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 who were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot. All you keep doing is hearing about fear. It’s amazing why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back.
“If you watch that video, you don’t need to be Black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged. How dare the Republicans talk about fear. We’re the ones that need to be scared. What White father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over? It’s just ridiculous. It keeps going. There’s no charges. Breonna Taylor: no charges, nothing. All we’re asking is you live up to the Constitution for everybody.”
There have since been protests and unrest in Kenosha, which led to two fatalities Tuesday.