historic boycott of NBA games

The world of American basketball on Wednesday reacted strongly to the shooting of the police on a black father in Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks have decided to boycott their game against Orlando scheduled for the same night, resulting in the cancellation of other games. A protest movement against racism that may not stop there.

It’s a protest against racial injustice that is as strong as it has been outstanding in American professional sports: The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against Orlando on Wednesday, August 26, in response to the police fire against Jacob Blake, forcing the NBA to suspend two others. .

The Milwaukee-Orlando, Houston-Oklahoma City and Los Angeles Lakers-Portland games “have been postponed in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play against the Orlando Magic,” the lawsuit said.

The kneeling during the national anthem, the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in black on the floors, the slogans on the backs of the players’ shirts, their regular speeches to demand justice were since the resumption of the season a month ago, proof of the general mobilization within the league, to work for change in a country plagued by racism.

Invaluable shock

But three months after the death of George Floyd, the ordeal suffered by Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old African-American was seriously injured during his arrest on Sunday, which would leave him paralyzed for life, an effect of immeasurable shock on NBA basketball players. So they decided to take action.

Risk to the calendar, this happens four years to the day after the first protest against police violence against blacks, by the American football player Colin Kaepernick. He had sat down under the hymn, before kneeling for the first time on September 1st.

And it was the Bucks players – whose franchise is based in Milwaukee, about fifty miles from Kenosha where Sunday’s drama took place – who, first, decided to stop the game. Magic that confided that they “were not aware of the initiative while holding on to it”.

“We are tired”

At The Athletic, Bucks defender George Hill declared: “We are tired of these murders and injustices. The team will not play this (Wednesday) night against Orlando.”

In the wake of this boycott, players from the Rockets, Thunder, Lakers and Blazers have decided to do the same for their evening games. LeBron James, the Lakers superstar, had tweeted him a few minutes earlier: “WE CALL FOR CHANGE. We are tired.”

Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss showed solidarity: “I was happy to see us play, hoping to finish our series against Portland. But I support our players, today and always. After more than 400 years of cruelty, racism and injustice, we must all work together to say enough is enough. “

Support from the players’ association

“We support the Milwaukee Bucks players’ decision to protest this injustice and, together, to postpone all matches” on Wednesday, the players responded.

In recent hours, other players had already raised the possibility of not playing their next game, including those in Toronto and Boston, who would consider starting their Eastern Semifinals on Thursday.

“If we just stay there and talk about change, we have to put our hearts … on the table at some point and put ourselves in a position to lose something, more than money or visibility,” said Toronto points guard Fred VanVleet.

Against a boycott of the season?

Other boycotts could therefore follow. Especially since it started to stain oil. WNBA basketball players followed in the footsteps of the Bucks, as did the baseball players (MLBs) of the Milwaukee Brewers, who hosted Cincinnati, and those of the Seattle Mariners, who would host the San Diego Padres.

In the tennis world, the Japanese Noami Osaka, who was scheduled to play in a semifinal of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati, has also announced that she is leaving the table.

It remains to be seen how far the stars of the NBA will be heard. Some are considering leaving Florida and abandoning the current championship, according to several media outlets.

With AFP