Enough is Enough – NBA Players Boycott Playoff Games, Want Change
On Sunday, August 23rd, 2020, a Black man named Jacob Blake was shot by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake was shot seven times, leaving him paralyzed from the waist down.
On August 26th, 2020, the NBA announced that all games on the 26th have been postponed according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. This announcement comes after the Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic boycotted their game five matchup.
The NBA and the NBPA today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – MIL-ORL, HOU-OKC and LAL-POR have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.
— NBA (@NBA) August 26, 2020
The civil unrest in America and around the world is not new. Around the NBA, talks between the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors boycotting their game one in the East Semis were already in motion.
Fred VanVleet spoke to the media on Tuesday, and he voiced his frustration regarding the lack of change in America.
“You know, coming down here and making a choice to play was supposed to not be in vain, but it’s just starting to feel like everything we’re doing is going through the motions and nothing’s really changing, and here we are again with another unfortunate incident,” VanVleet said.
Accountability and responsibility are at the forefront of VanVleet’s mind, and he questions how action can be taken beyond what the league has done so far.
“Are we gonna hold everybody accountable? Or we’re just gonna put the spotlight on black people or black athletes or entertainers and say, What are you doing? What are you contributing to community? What are you putting on the line? And then us too, we got to take responsibility as well. What are we willing to give up that we actually give up? Do we actually give a f*** about what’s going on? Or does it is it just cool to wear, you know, black lives matter? On the backdrop we’re wearing a T shirt like what does that really mean? Is it really doing anything?” VanVleet said.
“At the end of the day, if we’re gonna to sit here and talk about making change, then you know, at some point when we’re gonna have to put our nuts on the line and, and actually put something up to lose rather than just money, or visibility,” VanVleet said.
A Pivotal Moment to demand change
Wojnarowski reports that a meeting between NBA players in the bubble will take place at 8pm in order to discuss how to move forward with the season.
Rebecca Haarlow reports that teams will meet as individual teams first to discuss everything they want to discuss as a unit, with the league meeting as a whole afterwards.
“The consensus is, however they want to move forward, they want to move forward together in solidarity,” said Haarlow. Haarlow said above all, players want to see “systemic change” and the question of how to achieve that will be the emphasis of the meeting.
Yahoo! Sports’ Chris Haynes reports that there is a “sizeable” amount of players advocating to complete the season, as many sacrifices were made in order to enter the bubble.
Regardless of what the NBA decides to do moving forward, it has become clear as VanVleet pointed out, that action needs to be taken further beyond what the league has done so far. Education is important. Getting the message out that Black Lives Matter is important. Sure, out of the professional sports leagues, the NBA has done a lot when it comes to addressing the social unrest in America.
But at this moment in time, what’s currently being done is not enough. Killing after killing. Injustice after injustice. This issue goes beyond the 94-feet of hardwood, NBA offices and facilities, or our homes. As a society it’s become clear that something needs to change, and it starts with us.
What we can do as the media to be catalysts for real change? What can the NBA do to be a catalyst for real change? What can you and I do as people to be catalysts for real change?
We may not have all the answers, and there are certainly many levels to this in terms of how to effectively cause change in our society, but it all starts with a conversation. It starts with a conversation, and needs to be followed up with action.