Milwaukee Bucks Won't Let America Look Away, Refuse to Play Game 5 to Keep Focus on Police Shooting of Jacob Blake [Update: NBA Postpones Today's Playoff Games]

The benches are empty at the scheduled start of the first half of game five between the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 26, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
The benches are empty at the scheduled start of the first half of game five between the Orlando Magic and the Milwaukee Bucks in the first round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 26, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Photo: Ashley Landis (Getty Images)

In what can only be called a monumental moment in sports history, the Milwaukee Bucks—the national basketball team that plays in the same state where Jacob Blake was shot some seven times by a police officer—are refusing to play Wednesday’s playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

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According to ESPN, the Milwaukee Bucks did not take the court for their game 5 playoff matchup and as the game began to get closer to start time, rumors began circulating that the Bucks would not take the court in a show of solidarity with the Movement for Black Lives and others who have grown tired of watching unarmed Black people gunned down by police.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Malika Andrews both noted on Twitter that NBA officials have gone back to the Bucks’ locker room.

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The game was set for 4 p.m. ET in Lake Buena Vista, Florida, where players have been sequestered since the NBA season restart.

The Magic were seen on the court taking pregame shots while the Bucks side of the court was empty. With some 3:56 until tipoff, the Magic left the court as it became clear that no game would be played today.

Blake, who, after the shooting was taken to a local hospital where he is now reportedly paralyzed from the waist down, has become the latest in a series of victims who have suffered from the over-policing of Black and brown bodies.

The Bucks lead the series 3-1 but clearly there are things bigger than basketball. My hats off to the Bucks and the Magic for forcing America not to look away from the conversation they keep trying to avoid.

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Update: 6/26/20, 5:22 p.m.: The NBA and the players’ union have agreed to postpone all three playoff games scheduled for today after the Bucks refused to play.

The official statement:

The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers - have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.

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An earlier headline called the Bucks protest a “boycott,” but it’s actually a strike.

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The headline and story have been updated to reflect this change.

Senior Editor @ The Root, boxes outside my weight class, when they go low, you go lower.

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DISCUSSION

stormbiind
stormbIind

This is people and allies using their privileged positions to enact pressure on governors, mayors, and other people in power/authority to push back against the evil shit going on.

And before “But what does it accomplish?” It does more than most people will ever do in this movement. Nothing but love.