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NBA playoff games postponed as players strike for social justice

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NBA: Playoffs-Orlando Magic at Milwaukee Bucks Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

The recently-swept Sixers have plenty of company with teams not playing playoff games these days. In the wake of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday, the Milwaukee Bucks decided they would not take the court for yesterday’s playoff game against the Orlando Magic. While the Bucks’ decision caught everyone else off-guard, the Magic, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder, Los Angeles Lakers, and Portland Trail Blazers all quickly joined in solidarity, and the NBA announced the postponement of all three playoff games yesterday. At this time, the expectation is that the three playoff games today will be postponed as well.

Here was the statement the Bucks gave to the media from the arena last night:

Here is the statement in print form:

WNBA players joined the strike, as all games were postponed yesterday.

Additionally, in Major League Baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers followed suit, postponing their game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Seattle Mariners, who have the most Black players of any team in the league, joined the strike, postponing their game against the San Diego Padres. Los Angeles Dodgers star Mookie Betts was planning to sit out no matter what, and his teammates unanimously voted to join him in support, postponing LA’s game against the San Francisco Giants.

Getting back to the NBA, the players held a meeting at 8:00pm last night, with the Lakers and Clippers voting against continuing the season. The following is from The Athletic’s report on the situation:

“Sources said LeBron said he wanted more action from owners on racial justice matters; it’s possible the owners could put together an action plan that convinces the two L.A. teams to stay and play. The Bucks want the Wisconsin state legislature to convene and pass stricter safety protocols for police to follow.”

In regard to the Bucks’ call to legislature, Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers introduced a package of police reform bills back in June which the state legislature has still not convened upon to bring to a vote:

NBA players will be meeting again this morning at 11:00am, the same time as the NBA Board of Governors’ call. This situation is rapidly evolving, but there’s a non-zero chance we are witnessing the end of the 2019-20 NBA season. Whatever the outcome, much respect to all these athletes for taking a stand and trying to play a part in bringing about much-needed change in the world.