2nd day of NBA games halted over racial injustice, while hockey fans await word on NHL

Members of the San Jose Earthquakes depart the stadium where the team had been scheduled to play the Portland Timbers in an MLS soccer match in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Major League Soccer players boycotted five games Wednesday night in a collective statement against racial injustice. The players’ action came after all three NBA playoff games were called off in a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday night.
An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time in of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. NBA players made their strongest statement yet against racial injustice Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

An unprecedented NBA walkout over racial injustice postponed a second day of the playoffs Thursday, although players pledged to finish the post-season even as they wrestled with their emotions about wanting to bring change in their communities.

For now, the basketball courts in the NBA’s virus-free bubble at Disney World remained empty. And other athletes across the sports world also said they weren’t ready to resume playing.

They are still angry and emotional after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. NBA players considered not playing again the rest of the post-season and going home to their communities, although they decided Thursday they wanted to continue, according to a person with knowledge of the details. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

“We obviously agree that whether we play or not, we still have to do our best to make change and we still have to do our part in the community,” Orlando guard Michael Carter-Williams said in a video interview with a Magic public relations official.

“It’s obviously not easy, given everything that’s going on. But I think that if we can go out there and do our best and also have a list of things that we want to accomplish, everything gets completed.”

The NBA decided to postpone three more games Thursday to join the three that weren’t played a day earlier.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league hoped to resume Friday or Saturday. He added in as statement that a group of players at Disney would hold a video conference call later Thursday with representatives of the owners, including Michael Jordan, and National Basketball Players Association to discuss the next steps.

The tennis tours had already decided they would pause play Thursday at the Western & Southern Open in Flushing Meadows, New York; a number of NFL teams cancelled practices; and pressure was being put on the NHL by members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance to postpone its two second-round playoff games.

A second night of WNBA games were also postponed and other teams and sports pondered whether they would play on.

“This is not a strike. This is not a boycott. This is a affirmatively day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization,” WNBA players’ union president Nneka Ogwumike said on ESPN.

Three Major League Baseball games were postponed Wednesday, although others went on.

The sudden stoppages was reminiscent of March, when the NBA suspended its season after Utah centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Other sports quickly followed until the worldwide sporting landscape had almost completely come to a halt.

NBA players agreed to resume their season in July at Disney, making clear they intended to chase social justice reform just as passionately as a championship. But the video of Blake’s shooting on Sunday left them so disgusted and dispirited that they wondered whether they should continue playing.

The players voiced their frustrations in a meeting Wednesday night, then continued talks Thursday morning. As they prepared to do that, NBA referees led a march around campus to show their support in the fight against racism.

Play had been set to resume at 4 p.m. with Game 6 of the Western Conference series between Utah and Denver. Boston and Toronto were also to begin their second-round series before the Clippers and Dallas met in the nightcap.

It was the Raptors and Celtics who had been most vocal about the idea of not playing, but the Milwaukee Bucks acted first when they opted to remain in their locker room instead of playing their Game 5 against Orlando on Wednesday. Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

Before coming to Disney, many NBA players wrestled for weeks about whether it was even right to play, fearing that a return to games would take attention off the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.

They ultimately decided that playing would give them the largest platform — while also providing a bigger target for critics.

The NBA’s relationship with the White House eroded when Donald Trump was elected after President Barack Obama was close with some players and officials. Trump was critical of the league again Thursday.

“They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing,” Trump told reporters, noting that the league’s ratings are down from previous seasons. “I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”

Earlier Thursday, Vice-President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said in a CNN interview that the NBA protests are “absurd and silly” when compared to their response to ongoing to human rights violations in China.

READ MORE: Analyst says NHL should have postponed playoff games after NBA boycott

—-

Reynolds reported from Miami.

___

Brian Mahoney And Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

NBAracism

Just Posted

Lamborghini driver slapped with nearly $1,000 in fines while speeding in Central Saanich

Vehicle impounded by Central Saanich police, 11 points issued

VIDEO: Ojibwe man marks completion of five-day ‘healing walk’ from Hope to Saanich

Claremont Secondary students join celebration in Cordova Bay

Vancouver Island sheep farm dream disrupted by high lumber price

Solar powered farm project in Sayward could be set back by three years

Almost half of Canadian university students fear they cannot pay rising tuitions

COVID-19 also diminishing expectations for job market

No plan in place if Sooke homeless shelter forced to shut doors

Contract for exisiting facility now month to month

Tour de Rock arrives in Nanaimo, now it’s off to the next station

Cops for Cancer team completes Nanaimo section of Vancouver Island cycle relay

B.C. marriage annulled because husband was unable to have sex with wife

Husband did not disclose any sexual health concerns to his wife prior to marriage

B.C. VOTES 2020: B.C. Liberals vow to eliminate sales tax for a year

From 7% to zero, then back in at 3% to stimulate economy

WATCH: new fixed-wing search and rescue aircraft unveiled at 19 Wing Comox

The CC-295 Kingfisher was officially unveiled Friday

People bear-sprayed in Campbell River

Police make arrest following Sept. 24 incident, say it may have been connected to others

VIDEO: Save Wild Salmon demonstrators march in Campbell River

March to put pressure on federal government to fulfill Cohen report recommendations

Greater Victoria thrift shop quietly closes two locations indefinitely

Society of St. Vincent de Paul shut down Sooke and Central Saanich storefronts

The holiday everyone needs this year: Vote for your favourite in Fat Bear Week 2020

Voters will get to decide who gets to take home this year’s most coveted prize

Most Read