NBA players boycott playoffs, consider ending season over systemic racism

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NBA teams forced the league to postpone playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night after players agreed to boycott in response to the recent police shooting of a Black man and racial injustice across the United States.

Teams are currently in the first round of playoffs for the league championship, but the Milwaukee Bucks players came to the decision to boycott Wednesday’s game after a 29-year-old Black man was shot seven times by a policeman over the weekend in Wisconsin.

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“We fully support our players and the decision they made,” the Bucks owners said in a statement.

The owners said they did not know beforehand of the decision, but that they “wholeheartedly agreed” with the players.

“The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us,” the statement read.

Players across the league united and took the decision to follow suit and the NBA announced the postponement of the other two games scheduled for the night.

An assistant coach for the Oklahoma City Thunder, who are also in the playoffs, said the rest of the season was up in the air. “Season might be over,” the assistant told Al Arabiya English, adding that players were contemplating the move.

Black players make up the majority of NBA teams, but all players have been wearing messages on their warm-up jerseys and game jerseys to raise awareness over the racial injustice in the country.

Past and present players are all speaking out about the issue.

Houston Rockets guard James Harden wears a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during warmups before an NBA game, Aug. 6, 2020, in Florida. (AP)
Houston Rockets guard James Harden wears a Black Lives Matter T-shirt during warmups before an NBA game, Aug. 6, 2020, in Florida. (AP)

Jacob Blake was the latest Black man to be shot by police officers. Black Lives Matter protests erupted across the US earlier this summer after George Floyd was killed by a white police officer who dug his knee into Floyd’s neck for more than seven minutes.

After the shooting of Blake on Sunday night, protesters took to the streets across Wisconsin and other states. On Tuesday, a white man was seen brandishing his semi-automatic rifle before he’s believed to have shot and killed two people.

A 17-year-old man was arrested Wednesday on suspicion of first-degree intentional homicide.

According to witness accounts and video footage, police apparently let the gunman walk past them and leave the scene with a rifle over his shoulder and his hands in the air as members of the crowd were yelling for him to be arrested because he had shot people.

As for how the gunman managed to leave the scene, Sheriff David Beth portrayed a chaotic, high-stress situation, with screaming, chanting, nonstop radio traffic and people running all over — conditions he said can cause “tunnel vision” among law officers.

The sheriff told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel that militia members or armed vigilantes had been patrolling Kenosha’s streets in recent nights, but he did not know if the gunman was among them. However, video taken before the shooting shows police tossing bottled water from an armored vehicle to what appear to be armed civilians walking the streets. And one of them appears to be the gunman.

Read more:

Jacob Blake, black man shot by police in US, left paralyzed, father says

Ending police brutality in the US: Policy proposals for better policing

- With AP

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