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The American basketball world reacted strongly on Wednesday 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 evening, resulting in the cancellation of other games. A protest movement against racism that might not stop there.
It is a protest against racial injustice that is as strong as it is unprecedented in American professional sport: the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game against Orlando on Wednesday August 26, in reaction to the police shooting at Jacob Blake, forcing the NBA to postpone two more.
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 proceedings announced.
The kneeling down during the national anthem, the words “Black Lives Matter” painted in black on the floors, the slogans on the back 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.
But three months after the death of George Floyd, the ordeal suffered by Jacob Blake, this 29-year-old African-American seriously injured during his arrest on Sunday, which should leave him paralyzed for life, had the effect of an immeasurable shock. on NBA basketball players. So they decided to act harder.
Chance of 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 sat down during the hymn, before kneeling for the first time on September 1.
And it was the players of the Bucks – whose franchise is based in Milwaukee, about fifty kilometers from Kenosha where the drama of Sunday took place – who, the first, decided to stop the game. To the point of surprising those of the Magic who confided that they “were not aware of the initiative, while adhering to it”.
“We are fed up”
At The Athletic, Bucks back George Hill explained: “We are tired of these killings and injustice. The team will not play this (Wednesday) night against Orlando.”
In the wake of this boycott, the players of the Rockets, Thunder, Lakers and Blazers have decided to do the same for their evening matches. LeBron James, the Lakers superstar had tweeted him a few minutes earlier: “WE CALL FOR CHANGE. WE’RE TIRED OF IT”.
FUCK THIS MAN !!!! WE REQUEST CHANGE. SICK OF IT
– LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss showed her solidarity: “I was delighted to see us play, hoping to complete 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’ union
“We support the decision of the Milwaukee Bucks players to protest against this injustice and that, collectively, to postpone all the matches” of this Wednesday, reacted the union of the players.
In recent hours, other players had already raised the possibility of not playing their next game, including those of Toronto and Boston, supposed to start their Eastern Conference semi-final on Thursday.
“If we just stay there talking about changes, at some point we will have to put our hearts … on the table and put ourselves in a position to lose something, more than money or visibility”, had said Toronto point guard Fred VanVleet.
Towards a boycott of the season?
Other boycotts could therefore follow. Especially since it began to stain oil. Basketball players from the WNBA followed in the footsteps of the Bucks, as did the baseball players (MLB) of the Milwaukee Brewers, who were to host Cincinnati, and those of the Seattle Mariners, who were supposed to host the San Diego Padres.
In the tennis world, Japan’s Noami Osaka, who was scheduled to play Thursday in a semi-final of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati, has also announced that she is retiring from the table.
It remains to be seen how far the stars of the NBA will go to be heard. Some are considering leaving Florida and abandoning the current championship, according to several media.