Time and time again, we’ve seen police officers go unpunished for unruly behavior that targets the Black community, so while Tuesday’s announcement that the officers involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake will not be facing any charges wasn’t exactly surprising, that doesn’t mean it wasn’t any less infuriating.
We can all recall the historic moment back in August when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the floor against the Orlando Magic during the opening round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs in response to the shooting, and the entire sports world subsequently following suit. And in response to Kenosha County District Attorney Michael Graveley’s decision on Tuesday not to pursue charges against the officers responsible for putting nine bullet holes in Jacob Blake’s body, the sports world is once again speaking out.
“The Bucks organization remains firmly against excessive use of force by law enforcement,” the Bucks wrote in a statement. “This past year shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American and other marginalized communities. Reoccurring instances of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the Black community must stop. We will continue to work to enact policy change so these incidents no longer exist. As an organization, we remain strongly committed to address issues of social injustice and anti-racism and to make meaningful change for African Americans and all marginalized members of our community.”
Wesley Matthews, who played for the Bucks last season, described Tuesday’s decision to the Los Angeles Times as “truly disheartening.”
“Just for all the work that everybody put in, all the […] Just the heartache of the families involved, kids involved in the car, the city that rallied around the community,” he told the Times. “I mean, it’s just about right and wrong. But this isn’t going to be something that […] You can’t deter those citizens who were trying to do right, were trying to fight for equality, were trying to fight for the right things.
“It can’t deter us. We can’t lose our heads. We can’t start rioting. […] We have to be calculated. We have to continue to keep our foot on the pedal. We have to continue to keep our foot on the gas. We can vote and do all those things with the president, but at the same time we have to make sure that we protect our state, and vote in-state and understand that what is going on is real. This isn’t made up, this isn’t a lie, this isn’t fabricated, this is lives.”
Matthews current teammate, LeBron James, took to Twitter to express his own disgust at Graveley’s decision:
Marquette’s men’s basketball team wore black uniforms on Tuesday to express their “extreme disappointment” while advocating for racial justice.
“Our program has decided to wear Black uniforms for tonight’s game in support of Jacob Blake, his family and the Kenosha community in reaction to the announcement earlier today,” the team wrote in a statement on Tuesday. “We are extremely disappointed in the decision involving Jacob’s shooting and we will continue to use our platform to advocate and fight for racial justice. This is another reminder that just because racial and social justice hasn’t received as much attention recently, doesn’t mean the need to fight against it has gone away.”
As much as I appreciate these players and organizations using their platforms to speak out against racial injustice and the police deploying excessive force, I can only hope and dream that one day politicians will collectively follow suit.