If you thought the death by knee strangulation of George Floyd by Minneapolis PD, the bullets to the back that sent Rayshard Brooks to his maker in a Wendy’s parking lot in Atlanta or the tragic death-by-police ineptitude suffered by Breonna Taylor in Louisville was the breaking point, then think again.
Even after all of the protesting, player activism and demands for police defunding and social justice legislation and more Black leadership in corporate America and politics, the NBA players still made a decision to go inside the Disney bubble during a pandemic and play.
Nobody is knocking them for that decision, but when Kyrie Irving suggested that NBA players boycott the season until more concrete changes were made and tangible legislation, programs were implemented by law enforcement, government and other oppressive corporate powers in this country, he was laughed off the stage…attacked and clowned, even, by his own peers and some Black media members.
Now, less than a round into the NBA playoffs, unarmed Black man Jacob Blake is shot execution-style in the back seven times in front of his three boys by Kenosha, Wisconsin police in another brazen exhibition of excessive police force.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic have stepped up as neither team took the floor. The Rockets and Thunder followed and then the NBA postponed all of tonight’s games, including Lakers vs. Portland.
— Lance Allan (@lanceallan) August 26, 2020
People say Jacob is lucky to be alive, but what kind of life will this 29-yeat-old vibrant father live now as a paraplegic? At the least, it will be a long road back and a drastic transformation of living conditions. At most, the entire trauma will psychologically eviscerate the family’s potential as a thriving unit, leading to generations of conflict.
The shooting, so callous and unforgiving, has once again ripped at the heartstrings of Black Americans. So much so, that the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors met last night for 20 minutes and had a detailed discussion about the possibility of boycotting Game 1 of their NBA playoffs second-round matchup. Both teams are expected to meet tonight to continue discussions about how they can respond to the latest egregious shooting and try to “demand some more action,” said Raptors head coach Nick Nurse.
Milwaukee’s decision to boycott the game made this an easy decision for other teams to join in solidarity.
Lebron James expressed his disgust via Twitter, shortly after the video surfaced of Blake getting wet up like a gun range target.
And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE https://t.co/cJxOj1EZ3H
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 24, 2020
Then he went in again about 30 minutes ago.
They ain’t even wearing mask anymore! https://t.co/8dNemaZaO9
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
When the leader of the NBA starts speaking like that and teams are meeting to discuss boycotts, and Hall of Fame coaches like Doc Rivers (the son of a police officer) give emotionally frustrated speeches condemning the state of our nation’s race relations, then it’s time to start taking what they say very seriously.
Playoff Boycott Against Social Injustice?
Nobody wants the NBA players to shut down the season, but the harsh reality of the situation is that they have been thrust into the forefront of a movement for social equality (along with the women of the WNBA) and the celebrity platform they hold as successful Black Americans has influence as it pertains to changing social ills in this country — dating back to Jackie Robinson breaking baseball’s color barrier and fueling the Civil Rights movement of the 60s.
The murder of Jacob Blake might be the straw that breaks the camel’s back and buries the NBA playoffs. Then, things would probably start changing. As of right now, the boycott probably isn’t happening. But ask yourself this: If the players aren’t prepared to shut it down, then why would the cops that kill unarmed Blacks across the country tone it down?