The Milwaukee Bucks have made the decision to sit out Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic in protest of the racial injustice and police brutality occurring throughout the country. The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder also elected to sit out, and then the NBA officially postponed those two games and also the Lakers-Trail Blazers game.
The WNBA teams scheduled have decided not to partake in any games tonight and delivered a message on the power of the vote and the importance of taking action. Three Major League Baseball games have also been postponed for tonight as teams, including the Milwaukee Brewers, have chosen to act in solidarity with the Bucks.
On Sunday, police shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back multiple times as he was opening the door of a parked car in Kenosha, Wisconsin, with his children in the car. Blake survived the shooting, but is in serious condition.
Since the shooting, players have raised their voices to use their platform to help tackle the major issue of racial inequality in the United States. The Milwaukee Bucks, with this shooting close to home, took serious action and have decided not to play, at least for now.
Since the NBA resumed during the COVID-19 pandemic, and in the wake of social justice protests following the death of George Floyd, players have worn messages of equality and demands of justice and "Black Lives Matter" is painted on the bubble court.
This statement marks four years to the day from when NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat for the anthem for the first time.
Players flooded to social media to show support for the Bucks. Here are some of their reactions:
The Bucks tweeted that they fully support their players, saying they continue to stand by them as they demand accountability and change.
NBA fans offered support for the Bucks, including former President Barack Obama.
NBA Stars, past and present, offered their thoughts on the Bucks players' decision.
Warning: NSFW language
FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
Proud to be apart of this League... even more today ! WE WANT CHANGE🖤🖤— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) August 26, 2020
WE DEMAND JUSTICE!!!— Jamal Murray (@BeMore27) August 26, 2020
We need CHANGE!— Enes Kanter (@EnesKanter) August 26, 2020
Change can NOT wait!
this shit gotta stop ‼️— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) August 26, 2020
Powerful move by the Bucks but now I’m curious to see what are OKC, Houston, Lakers and Blazers are going to do?!— Kendrick Perkins (@KendrickPerkins) August 26, 2020
Tennis star Naomi Osaka also said she would be sitting out in solidarity.
Following her announcement, the Western and Southern Open announced play at the tournament would be suspended.
A handful of NFL players also weighed in as well.
FED UP. Ain’t enough money in world to keep overlooking true issues that effect the mind body & soul of what we do. We cannot be happy for self when our communities are suffering & innocent folk are dying.. since George Floyd, there have been at least 20 other police shootings. https://t.co/UmzuuWP7us— Tyrann Mathieu (@Mathieu_Era) August 26, 2020
Some MLB and NHL players came forward with support.
Major statement by the NBA players 👊🏽👊🏽👊🏽 I’m with it!— Evander Kane (@evanderkane_9) August 26, 2020
TNT NBA analyst Kenny Smith decided to stand with the players, saying, "And for me, I think the biggest thing now is to kind of, as a Black man, as a former player, I think it's best for me to support the players and just not be here tonight," before walking off the set of Inside the NBA
He said he had not yet spoken with the players yet about the situation.
Wizards star Bradley Beal weighed in, in support of Smith.
Damn right Kenny Smith!— Bradley Beal (@RealDealBeal23) August 26, 2020