NBA players agree to resume playoffs after protest against racial injustice
Games could restart as early as Friday
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – NBA players have agreed to resume the playoffs after games were called off this week in a collective statement against racial injustice.
Multiple reports citing unnamed sources, including ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski and the Associated Press, said that players decided Thursday they want to continue the season. Wojnarowski said three games scheduled for Thursday would still be postponed, but added that discussion was underway on when teams would get back on the court.
The NBA’s board of governors were meeting separately Thursday to decide next steps.Neither the league nor the National Basketball Players Association have announced anything publicly.
Led by the NBA, several professional athletes opted to boycott games in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while three of his children in his car looked on.
The Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their game Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. Players remained in the locker room, finally emerging hours later to read a statement demanding action from lawmakers and encouraging voting by citizens. Two more games were also postponed later in the day.
Other action followed across the entire sports landscape, including 5 Major League Soccer games. Two Major League Baseball games and all three WNBA games were also called off.
Some NFL teams did the same Thursday, choosing not to practice.
The Western & Southern Open won’t be played Thursday, with the U.S. Tennis Association, along with the ATP and WTA Tours, announcing play would be paused after two-time Grand Slam women’s champion Naomi Osaka had already said she wouldn’t play her semifinal match.
“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction,” Osaka tweeted. “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.”
The NBA’s restart in the “bubble” environment at Walt Disney World amid the coronavirus pandemic has included calls for racial justice, with the phrase “Black Lives Matter” displayed in large lettering on the court.
Many 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 coming to the bubble and playing televised games would give them the largest platform.