NBA, WNBA boycotting games in protest of Jacob Blake police shooting
The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to boycott Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic following the recent shooting of Jacob Blake by police.
The Bucks, up 3-1, were set to take on the Orlando Magic. The team made a statement together outside the locker room to the media assembled in the bubble.
Full statement from the Milwaukee Bucks: pic.twitter.com/jjGEyVcCmB
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020
In an official statement prior to the players speaking, the Bucks organization backed the players.
“We fully support our players and the decision they made,” the statement read. “Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them.
“The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”
Magic players and referees were on the floor for the game but Milwaukee never took the floor. Eventually everyone else left and the arena staff soon took the balls, towels and tags that go on player chairs back inside.
In light of the Bucks’ decision, the NBA announced it has postponed the rest of Wednesday’s games. NBA players have also called for a meeting in the Orlando bubble to determine the next steps, per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The WNBA will also not be playing on Wednesday night, and a handful of MLB teams also followed suit.
Before the NBA’s decision, Charania added the Magic were not accepting the Bucks’ forfeit.
Players and coaches around the league say they have been frustrated and are upset after seeing cellphone video that showed Blake being shot multiple times after they have spent a month and a half in the bubble calling for reform.
Blake, a Black man, was shot Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
On Monday, Bucks guard George Hill said players shouldn’t even have come to the bubble because it took focus off the racial injustice issues, where they wanted the attention to be.
He echoed that sentiment once news broke of the boycott, saying “we’re tired of the killings and the injustice” to The Undefeated.
Players on the Bucks have experienced police brutality on their end as well.
Milwaukee police punched and put a knee on the neck of guard Sterling Brown in 2019.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.