The Milwaukee Bucks were supposed to play the Orlando Magic in the NBA playoffs last night, but the game did not go on, because the Bucks decided to strike against systematic racism and police brutality, like the police killing of Breonna Taylor and the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man who has been left partially paralyzed after Officer Rusten Sheskey shot him seven times as he walked to his car in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The NBA was in a quarantine bubble because of the pandemic, but it was systemic racism that popped that shit open and players had it. After the Bucks’ announcement, the NBA announced that all three playoff games would not go down last night and would be postponed. That led to the WNBA, a handful of Major League Baseball teams, some Major League Soccer teams, and tennis star Naomi Osaka all using their voices and fame to bring attention to police brutality. Kenny Smith of TNT’s Inside The NBA also walked out in solidarity. Meanwhile, side-eyes were thrown at the NHL for going on with their games. But they did put up an “End Racism” graphic on a screen during a game in Toronto and the announcer called for their community to stand up for social justice.
George Hill of the Bucks talked to ESPN’s Undeafated after his team decided to press pause on playing and said that they’re tired of the injustice and that many players are frustrated about being in the bubble as the world burns outside of it:
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Hill said.
The day after Blake was shot by police, the Bucks’ Hill echoed another growing sentiment felt by some players – frustration about living in the NBA’s pandemic-protected environment…referred to as the “bubble”…near Orlando, Fla.
“We can’t do anything,” Hill said in an interview. “First of all we shouldn’t even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming here just took all the focal points off of what the issues are.”
LeBron James of the Los Angeles Lakers (Side note: I can now call myself “masc” in my Grindr profile because I knew what team LeBron plays for without looking it up) also tweeted about the strike:
FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW! For my @IPROMISESchool kids, kids and communities across the country, it’s on US to make a difference. Together. That's why your vote is @morethanavote ✊🏾 #BlackLivesMatter
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 27, 2020
There was talk that the entire NBA season would be canceled to call attention to Black Lives Matter and that the Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers supported that decision. But CNN says that NBA players, including LeBron, decided not to do that after all. Today’s three playoff games will be postponed but they’ll play again either tomorrow or this weekend.
12 out of 15 MLB games were played yesterday, but individual players and six teams (the Reds, the Brewers, the Padres, the Dodgers, and the Giants) took part in the strike. The MLB released this statement supporting the decision of those players who protested:
“Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight. Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”
The WNBA postponed their games as well, and players held a candlelight vigil in their bubble at Bradenton, Florida.
After games were boycotted Wednesday night, the entire @wnba bubble organized and participated in a candlelight vigil. People were encouraged to speak their heart. They are in this together. pic.twitter.com/4MZj64dBlf
— Holly Rowe (@sportsiren) August 27, 2020
Naomi Osaka was supposed to play her Western & Southern Open semifinal match against Elise Mertens today, but last night, she announced that she was pulling out to join the strike:
BUT WAIT, today, Naomi announced that after the WTA and USTA postponed all matches to stand with her, she agreed to play Elise Mertens tomorrow. via The Guardian:
“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent. However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement. I want to thank the WTA and the Tournament for their support.”
Trump hasn’t commented yet, but his son-in-law, the Nick Jr. version of Mr. Burns that is Jared Kushner, did say something to CNBC’s Squawk Box:
“I think that the NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially,” Kushner said. “So they have that luxury, which is great.”
Kushner added: “Look, I think with the NBA, there’s a lot of activism, and I think that they’ve put a lot of slogans out. But I think what we need to do is turn that from slogans and signals to actual action that’s going to solve the problem.”
Don’t you dare roll your eyes at Jared! Jared has every right to say that, honestly, because it’s not like he has his White House position because of his father-in-law and probably got into Harvard thanks to a $2.5 million donation from his daddy. And since the NBA didn’t play yesterday, and therefore didn’t have to kneel during the National Anthem, I’m sure Trump will say, “I heard the NBA didn’t kneel last night. Another victory for Trump!”
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