By Peyton Gray, Staff Writer
The Milwaukee Bucks refused to play game five of the first round of the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic. This refusal was in response to the Jacob Blake shooting that occurred in Kenosha, Wis.
The shooting caused numerous players from the NBA to express their frustration. Many players questioned if by playing, they were drawing attention away from where the real issues are.
“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,” Milwaukee’s George Hill said.
Milwaukee’s owners– Jamie Dinan, Wes Edens, and Marc Lasry– stood by their players’ decision to opt-out. “We will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change,” they said.
The Bucks’ decision to organize Wednesday’s boycott stunned league officials. The last time an NBA team refused to play was in 1961.
Magic players were already on the court warming up, but the Bucks refused to join them.
Due to the coronavirus, the NBA is playing all of its games at Walt Disney World, where they’re not allowed to leave without being subjected to a 14-day quarantine. “We shouldn’t have even come to this place, to be honest,” Hill said. “I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the real issues are.”
Many other players took to social media to speak out. “We demand change,” LeBron James said. “Sick of it.”
The players met Wednesday night to decide how to move forward. During these meetings, the Lakers and Clippers voted to cancel the remainder of the NBA season. However, the other 11 teams voted to resume playing.
Soon after the Bucks’ decision, the NBA decided to postpone all three of Wednesday’s postseason games: Milwaukee vs. Orlando, Portland vs. the L.A. Lakers, and Houston vs. Oklahoma City.
Several teams from the MLB, WNBA, and MLS followed the NBA’s lead by also refusing to play.
Three MLB games were postponed on Wednesday, and another four on Thursday. Several teams released a statement showing their support for the Black Lives Matter Movement.
The WNBA canceled all games for both Wednesday and Thursday. Players for the Washington Mystics were spotted wearing T-shirts that spelled Jacob Blake’s name.
A total of five MLS matches were postponed.
Many individuals opted out of playing their respective sports. Naomi Osaka stated she would not play at the Western & Southern Open. “Before I am an athlete, I am a Black Woman,” Osaka said on Twitter.
There continues to be a movement from major professional athletes throughout the United States and this time, it seems they mean business.