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Nearly 60 years ago, Celtics players boycotted a game in Lexington, Kentucky after Bill Russel wasn’t allowed to dine-in at a local restaurant. Players sat out to fight against racial injustice in America and decades later, professional players are fighting the same issue. After several racially driven events, including the recent police shooting of unarmed Jacob Blake that left him paralyzed, Milwaukee Bucks players boycotted their playoff game against Orlando Magic.
With only the second player boycott in association history underway, every team scheduled to compete in playoff games today decided not to participate. Though the action alone spoke volumes, the Bucks put out a statement, with full support from team ownership, to clarify their intentions.
“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings. Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we’ve seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
Milwaukee Bucks continue.
“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”
The players expressed that they will continue to educate themselves on racial injustice in the country and release more statements in the future. After they spoke to the press, other teams shared their views and support on the decision.
As conversations stirred, the NBA wasn’t the only association to have boycotted games today. Earlier, WNBA players chose not to participate in today’s scheduled competitions. Atlanta Dream’s Elizabeth Williams provided a statement on behalf of her fellow teammates.
“We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA and will continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action. What we have seen over the last few months and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake, is overwhelming, and while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to focus on the issues and demand change,” she said while her teammates silently showed support behind her.
After her complete statement was heard, WNBA players took a knee during the national anthem, nearly four years after Colin Kaepernick’s first kneel. The current events are already sounding off players across the globe as leagues and professional athletes have called off upcoming matches. Statements were released notifying fans about the postponement of the remaining Major League Soccer games for the day and the upcoming MLB matchups with the Cincinnati Red vs Milwaukee Brewers and Los Angeles Dodgers vs San Francisco Giants. Top tennis player Naomi Osaka took to Twitter to announce she will not be participating in the scheduled semifinals match and emphasized she is a black woman before she is an athlete.
LeBron James, who has been very vocal about racial issues, had a couple of things to say about Blake’s incident with the Kenosha Police. In addition to his frustration, he made it clear that the actions taken today were a boycott and not simply a postponement. Former President Barack Obama also spoke on today’s events and expressed his support for the hard stance taken.
As more of your favorite athletes, celebrities, and leaders speak out and make historic decisions, Afterbuzz TV will keep you updated.
AfterBuzz TV will continue to cover the latest events around the country and justice for George Floyd. Make sure to share this article with a friend to keep the names of Floyd and other innocent Black people alive.
Toree Weaver is an AfterBuzz TV host with a passion for glamour and kingdoms. When she isn’t modeling or dancing, she can be found binge watching shows from Gossip Girl to Game of Thrones.
Founded by Emmy winning journalist Maria Menounos and Producer Keven Undergaro, artist-friendly AfterBuzz TV is the world’s largest digital broadcast network and pop culture news platform, producing post-game ‘after-shows’ for nearly all favorite TV shows, interviewing cast and showrunners and providing the widest video, audio and article coverage of shows, content and influencers than any entertainment news platforms in existence
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