The US sports protest against racism and police violence has reached a new level: the boycott of the Milwaukee Bucks has sparked a wave of solidarity and protest. The consequences are open.
On the anniversary of Colin Kaepernick’s first anti-racism protest, US athletes have made their anger and disappointment about the police violence in the country clear as never before. Triggered by a historic play-off boycott of the Milwaukee Bucks, teams and players in the NBA, MLB, MLS and WNBA decided not to compete on Wednesday (local time).
It will take all of our institutions to stand up for our values.
Whether the season in the strongest basketball league in the world, which was long interrupted by the corona pandemic and now played in a sealed-off bubble, was the subject of intense debates. The latest act of violence by police officers against a black American at the weekend hit many players hard again.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka joined the protest and waived her semifinals at the Masters in New York, which was scheduled for Thursday, just before the US Open. The combined women’s and men’s tournament reacted with a complete interruption and a break from play until Friday. There was support for the move of the Bucks from professional athletes from the NBA and the NFL. Former US President Barack Obama wrote: “I commend the Bucks players who stand up for what they believe in; coaches like Doc Rivers and the NBA and WNBA for making a mark. It will take all of our institutions to stand up for it to stand up for our values. “
As the NBA announced, the encounters should be rescheduled. Also the Oklahoma City Thunder around national player Dennis Schröder did not play against the Houston Rockets, the Los Angeles Lakers – similar to Milwaukee against Orlando – could have made the entry into the second play-off round perfectly against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The fourth anniversary of Kaepernick’s first protest
Exactly four years to the day after Kaepernick, the then quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, kneeled down during the national anthem for the first time in a pre-NFL season test and embroiled the country in an emotional debate, the Bucks basketball players stayed in on Wednesday her cabin. In what appeared to be an action that was not long in preparation, they boycotted the fifth game of the playoff series when the score was 3-1 after victories. The reason: the recent act of violence by police officers against an African American who was shot in the back at the weekend. The crime scene is less than an hour from Milwaukee by car.
The 29-year-old family man Jacob Blake was seriously injured on Sunday by police gunshots in his back. A video shows Blake walking to his car, followed by two police officers with guns drawn. One of the weapons is pointed at his back. When Blake opens the driver’s door and leans into the car, shots are fired. According to the family’s attorney, the car had Blake’s children aged three, five, and eight. According to Blake’s father, he is paralyzed from the waist down as a result of the gunshots.
It is amazing to me why we continue to love this country and why this country does not love us back.
Our focus today can therefore not be on basketball,” said a reaction to the boycott read by the Bucks professionals in the catacombs of the hall in Orlando. We meet that standard and demand the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.”
The day before, Clippers coach Doc Rivers had already expressed his pain and anger with an emotional comment: “It is amazing to me why we continue to love this country and why this country does not love us back,” said the 58-year-old visibly stirred in response to the video of the shooting at Blake.
The strongest women’s basketball league in the world, the WNBA, like the NBA, did without all scheduled games for the day. In Major League Soccer, five of the six scheduled games of the day did not take place. Major League Baseball matches were also canceled on Wednesday.
Full support from the team owners
“I’ve never seen anything like it. You have to pay a lot of respect to the Milwaukee Bucks,” said basketball legend Charles Barkley on CNN. “I think what the Milwaukee Bucks did tonight is very courageous.” The team owners, who were not informed, provided support for the basketball players.
tweeted Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz – combined with a show of respect to the Bucks.
Even before the pros moved into the Florida bubble, the anti-racism protests in the country had played a major role. Some basketball players felt that if the pandemic-interrupted season continued, the focus on this very important issue would be lost. Players and coaches had pointed out the death of George Floyd and other black people in interviews almost every day. The bang on Wednesday was unprecedented and will resonate for a long time.