The Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the floor for Game 5 of their first-round series with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday afternoon, and a short time later the NBA officially postponed all three playoff games scheduled for the day. Now, both the players and the league are trying to figure out where to go from here.
Players and coaches held an all hands on deck meeting late on Wednesday night, and players spoke privately among themselves as well. On Thursday morning, the league's board of governors will convene for a special meeting of their own, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. Discussions will continue into Thursday, and the three playoff games scheduled will unlikely be played, Wojnarowski reports.
As of now, there are no plans in place for Thursday's games, though it's likely that those contests will be postponed, according to a report from Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. He added that he's heard from multiple players that they want to go beyond simply sitting out one game. Furthermore, the players are demanding concrete action from the owners, and if they don't get something meaningful, the season could be in jeopardy.
The Bucks' decision not to play comes in the wake of turmoil in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a town 40 miles south of Milwaukee. Police there shot a Black man named Jacob Blake seven times in the back on Sunday evening. He survived but is now paralyzed from the waist down. Protests have surged through the city in the following days, and on Tuesday night they turned violent when two protestors were killed by a 17-year-old who considered himself a militia member.
Following their decision not to play, Bucks guards Sterling Brown and George Hill read a statement prepared by the team, which referenced both shootings, and called for accountability for the officers and action from the state's legislators. Players across the league sent messages of support on social media, and the Bucks' decision inspired teams in the WNBA, MLB and MLS to follow suit and refuse to take the court and field.