Today marked a historic day in the NBA, as all three playoff games were postponed after players elected not to play following the incident that occurred with Jacob Blake and three police officers on Sunday.
The players’ boycotts began with the Milwaukee Bucks, as they remained in their locker room and didn’t step foot on the court against the Orlando Magic. The Magic followed and returned to their locker room about three minutes before their scheduled tip off. This started the domino effect around the rest of the league as the Thunder and Rockets and the Trail Blazes and Lakers agreed to not play their respective matchups as well.
When I first heard this morning about the possibility of the players boycotting the games, I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. But after giving it a lot of thought throughout the day, I completely stand by the players 100%. Some issues are more important than sports, and this is one of those issues. And in a time with so much division and hate in the country, it was nice to see everyone come together and allow the nation to turn its focus to what really matters: fighting for racial equality. Drastic times call for drastic measures, and at some point enough is enough. The NBA players today were saying that they’re sick and tired of seeing unarmed African Americans being shot and killed. As LeBron James put it yesterday, this is what they’ve been talking about for not just these past few months, but for years. The players had to get their message across.
And while some may argue that NBA players aren’t the ones who are oppressed given their salaries and being able to play a game for a living, are those that have that mindset sure about that? I ask that you think back to January 2018 when Bucks guard Sterling Brown was beaten by police over a parking violation. What about in 2015 when then-Hawks forward Thabo Sefolosha was left with a broken fibula following an encounter with the police in New York City? This can and has happened to NBA players too. And even if hypothetically no players have ever been victims of racial profiling and police brutality, they’re the ones who everyday people count on to use their voice and platform to push for change. This is what you’re seeing across the NBA right now.
At some point, opponents of the Black Lives Matter movement need to understand how African Americans feel. When players kneel, it’s disrespecting the American flag and the president publicly calls them out. When people protest, it’s considered violent. And now when players are boycotting games they’re drawing criticism. Other than pressuring law makers to make change, what else are people supposed to do at this point?
This isn’t over after today. The NBA’s Board of Governor’s is scheduled to meet Thursday morning about how they will continue with the NBA playoffs. Multiple MLB games were postponed tonight. I don’t know what’s in store for the NBA’s future this season, but I hope that the players got their message across today and continue to do so as everyone keeps fighting for equality.