President Obama Issues Statement On Milwaukee Bucks Boycott
9:20 p.m. ET: Former President Barack Obama took to Twitter to respond to the latest boycott from NBA players. The Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play in tonight's NBA Playoff game against the Orland Magic in response to the near fatal shooting of Jacob Blake on August 23 in Kanosha, Wisconsin. There decision promoted the NBA as an organization to postpone all playoff games as well as the WNBA and MLB. Here is what former President Obama had to say:
The NBA has postponed all Game 5s of the NBA Playoffs scheduled for Wednesday (Aug. 26) after several teams chose to boycott playing in the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
About an hour after NBA players opted against playing, WNBA players also decided they would not play as well, in a show of solidarity.
Initially, news surfaced of the Milwaukee Bucks boycotting their Game 5 against the Orlando Magic in protest of the shooting. According to CBS Sports, Bucks players did not show up on court for the game Wednesday (Aug. 26) after deciding collectively that they would not play in response to the Sunday (Aug. 23) incident.
Although nothing official from the team had been announced, Bucks guard George Hill told The Undefeated reporter Marc J. Spears “We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” according to a Wednesday afternoon tweet. The cessation of play comes as players on the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors were reportedly jointly discussing boycotting Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals, CBS Sports reported.
Bucks Coach Mike Budenholzer told reporters prior to the scheduled game start that players could possibly take some action.
“Our team has had lots of conversations and has a high level of concern and wants to continue to fight for racial justice, for social justice, for the end of excessive use of force by police, but I think it’s best for our team conversations and what we’re thinking and doing to stay private until if and when a player or myself decides something needs to be made public," Budenholzer said, according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel. "But there’s a lot of concern, there’s a lot of conversation, there’s a lot of frustration, but I also think our players want to find a way to fight for better and there’s lots of different ways to do that. I think everything is under consideration.”
In a tweet on Wednesday, Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry expressed pride in the actions of the players.
The three scheduled WNBA games for Wednesday were expected be played but every seven minutes game play would have be stopped as a sign of protest. However, Atlanta Dream forward Elizabeth Williams read a statement on behalf of her fellow players saying they would not take to the court.
"We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA and we'll continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action," said Williams.
After news of the Bucks’ boycott surfaced the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly to boycott their Game 5, according to a tweet from Shams Charnia of The Athletic. The L.A. Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers were “leaning toward” following suit, according to another tweet from Yahoo Sports’ Chris Haynes.
Earlier Wednesday, Lakers forward LeBron James, who has been outspoken about incidents of police violence sent an emotional message on Twitter in response to the latest violence.
In a statement, the league said that the Wednesday games would be postponed and rescheduled.
NBA Players are not the only ones reacting to Blake’s shooting. On Tuesday (Aug. 25) the Detroit Lions cancelled practice to speak out about police violence. Several players joined coach Matt Patricia to discuss the cancellation at a press conference.
"Some people think were just football players," said Lions safety Duron Harmon. "This league, 67 percent of its players are African American. Jacob Blake could have been anybody’s brother, cousin, uncle, friend, could have been them. And it wasn’t okay. Football is not important today."
Also, the Milwaukee Brewers have joined the Bucks and decided not to play Wednesday night against the Cincinnati Reds, a tweet from Wall Street Journal reporter Jared Diamond said.
Blake, 29 was shot and wounded seven times by Kenosha officers on Sunday after breaking up what his family’s lawyer Benjamin Crump had said was an altercation between two women.
In the incident, which was caught on cellphone video, officers followed him to his car, in which his three children were sitting and fired several rounds at him. Crump said at a press conference that Blake is paralyzed from the waist down.