There’s now a major backdrop surrounding the ongoing NBA Playoffs at Walt Disney World in Orlando. It has absolutely nothing to do with the COVID-19 pandemic that forced the season to be suspended for more than five months.
After an African-American man by the name of Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police officers in Wisconsin over the weekend, NBA players are speaking up.
More than that, there’s reports that said players are considering boycotting playoff games moving forward in protest of both police brutality and racial inequality in the United States.
One of the young stars in the game, Boston Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, is taking that to a whole new level.
Celtics star Jayson Tatum has strong words regarding the NBA season
“How many points we score, how many games we win, that sh—doesn’t matter right now,” Tatum said, via Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “Being a black man in America is more important than what I’m doing on a basketball court. Using my platform, my voice, to help create conversations and change is more important than anything I could do out there. You think about a man being shot in his back seven times, his kids in the car, that’s way more important than anything I could do out there.”
This comes after reports suggest that the Celtics and Toronto Raptors have had discussions over boycotting Game 1 of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series slated to start next week. As a whole, NBA players are considering a boycott.
Jacob Blake shooting leads to more protests, violence
By now it’s well known what transpired in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha. A video went viral Sunday evening showing Mr. Blake being shot in the back seven times by police offers responding to a domestic dispute. There’s not a lot more information being made available by authorities in the locality.
Late Tuesday evening, a 17-year-old man by the name of Kyle Rittenhouse was shown shooting at protesters in the city with an AR-15. He was arrested Wednesday in his native Illinois on two counts of murder.
As things continue to blow up in American cities, it’s becoming harder and harder for NBA players to ignore everything within the Walt Disney World bubble.
Clippers head coach Doc Rivers touched on this after his team’s win over the Dallas Mavericks Tuesday evening.
As for Tatum, it’s becoming clear that sitting out is a real option.
“People are going to say sitting out, what is that going to do?” said Tatum. “Obviously if we sit out a game or the rest of the playoffs, we understand how big of an impact that would have. Everyone is going to have to talk about it … we don’t want to just keep playing and forget about what is happening on the outside world.”
This promises to get more interesting as players from all walks of life speak out. For now, the NBA Playoffs are slated to continue. Whether that changes remains to be seen.