Milwaukee Bucks Boycott Playoff Game To Protest Shooting
Above photo: Women’s basketball team, the Mystics, wore shirts that spelled out Jacob Blake’s name and that had seven black spots on the back to symbolize where he was shot seven times. Twitter.
The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday afternoon to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday.
The game was scheduled to begin at 4 p.m. EDT, but minutes before tipoff, the Bucks still had not taken the court.
“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Bucks, tweeted Wednesday afternoon.
“The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change,” he added.
Hours after the game was called off, players for Milwaukee called on the Wisconsin legislature to reconvene to address racial injustice.
Full statement from the Milwaukee Bucks: pic.twitter.com/jjGEyVcCmB
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020
“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,” Bucks guard George Hill said in a statement to reporters as several of his teammates stood behind him. “For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take meaningful measures to address police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.”
ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski had reported on Twitter that the decision to boycott what was supposed to be Game 5 of the Bucks’ first-round playoff game against the Magic was made by the players.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Bucks guard George Hill said, according to ESPN.
The NBA and National Basketball Players Association later announced that “in light of” the team’s decision, two other playoff games scheduled for Wednesday would be postponed: one between the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder and another between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.
Lakers star LeBron James tweeted Wednesday afternoon in part, “WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
Blake, 29, was critically wounded Sunday afternoon after being shot multiple times in the back at close range by Kenosha police after officers responded to a reported domestic incident.
Graphic cellphone footage showed Blake walking away from a pair of police officers toward his car. As he attempted to get in his car — where his three children were — an unidentified officer could be seen pulling Blake back by his shirt before firing off several rounds.
Witnesses have said that Blake was not a part of the incident but was trying to break it up when police arrived.
Civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, who is representing Blake’s family, said Tuesday in a press conference that Blake was still in critical condition and paralyzed from the waist down. Blake’s family plans to launch a civil suit against the Kenosha Police Department.
Protests have rocked Kenosha since Blake was shot. Property damage has been reported at local businesses, prompting Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers (D) to mobilize the state’s National Guard.
President Trump on Wednesday said that he would be sending federal officers to help with the unrest. Tuesday night, a white teenager from Illinois shot three people who were protesting, killing two of them. The teen has since been charged.
Kenosha is about 50 miles north of Chicago and just a 45-minute drive from Milwaukee, where the Bucks regularly play.
The Athletic reported that the Bucks were in their locker room on Wednesday trying to get in touch with Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul (D) following the shooting in Kenosha.
Kaul on Monday vowed to “vigorously and fully investigate” what happened.