NBA players choose to resume playoffs

NBA players choose to  resume playoffs
September 02
13:09 2020

After several games were postponed over a two-day span, the NBA players inside of the bubble have chosen to resume playing. There was much debate and speculation as to whether the players would continue playing, but following a meeting Thursday morning, the consensus was to play.

Things began to get foggy when the players staged a walk-out of the game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic Wednesday afternoon in protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.  The remaining games on Wednesday were also postponed.

“We fully support our players and the decision they made,” the Bucks said in a statement signed by Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan. “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.”

There was a players meeting that took place on Wednesday night to discuss the next steps that lasted for more than two hours. The players were not able to come to an agreement as to whether they were going to finish the season or not.  

The meeting was reportedly led by Andre Iguodala and Chris Paul, although several other players spoke up as well. During the meeting, LeBron James said he wanted to see more action and involvement from ownership, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania. It was also reported that the Lakers and Clippers were the only teams that voted to not continue playing and walked out of the meeting, led by James.

“Change doesn’t happen with just talk!! It happens with action and needs to happen NOW!” James wrote on Twitter, urging people to vote in the upcoming elections.  

The players met again Thursday morning and decided to press on with the season. Games on Thursday would also be postponed as well and more than likely would resume either Friday or Saturday.

Other major sports leagues such as the WNBA, MLB, MLS and the NHL have also postponed games Thursday to protest the shooting of Blake. This was an unprecedented show of solidarity shown by the other sports leagues in support of the NBA. With the NFL season rapidly approaching, I am wondering what, if any, response they will have to what the other leagues have done.

The boycott of games has even elicited a response from the president. In a news briefing about Hurricane Laura, President Trump said, “I don’t know much about the NBA protest. I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA … They’ve become a political organization and that’s not a good thing.”

Yeah, you read that correctly. So I assume the president feels NBA players are not allowed to interject themselves into social justice issues. This seems to be par for the course from this administration, but they did make somewhat of a point.

Trump’s son-in-law and senior advisor, Jared Kushner, said, “NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they’re able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially, so they have that luxury, which is great,” he told CNBC.

I agree that NBA players have the luxury to take the boycott of a game with no ramifications. My issue with the boycott of a game is, what was it going to accomplish? I was all behind LeBron James when it was reported that the Lakers and the Clippers were going to opt out of finishing the playoffs inside of the bubble. Less than 24 hours later, that was no longer the case. I understand these players have obligations to fulfill, but if you are going to make a stance like that, I feel you must stand behind it when your back is against the wall.

I think a total boycott of the remainder of the playoffs would have been a great statement by the NBA players. With all of the players still in the bubble, they could have used that platform to push forward whatever initiative they chose. This seems like a wasted opportunity to show that Black and brown bodies are not just for entertainment, but instead, they are intellectual, articulate and socially conscience individuals.

Black professional athletes have a long history involving social justice, dating back to the Civil Rights Movement.  Players like Jim Brown, Bill Russell, Muhammad Ali and Kareem Abdul Jabbar were very outspoken about racial injustice during the 1960s. I think the time is now for our current players to follow in their predecessors’ footsteps by not only talking about it, but making a tangible difference in the community.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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