The Milwaukee Bucks and Orlando Magic made the decision to not play the fifth game of their first-round series, following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This move comes after days of rumors surrounding the Celtics and Raptors plan to do the same for the opening game of their second-round series.
Are you confused as to why these games are postponed? As to why professional athletes would decide to walk out on the playoffs? Let me direct you to the following three quotes.
Los Angeles Clippers coach Doc Rivers following his team’s win over the Dallas Mavericks in their Game 5.
“All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We’re the ones getting killed, we’re the ones getting shot, we’re the ones that were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung, we’ve been shot, and all you do is keep hearing about fear.
“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back. It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color. It’s just really sad. We got to do better. But we got to demand better.
“It’s funny. We protest. They send riot guards. They send people in riot outfits. They go up to Michigan with guns. They’re spitting on cops. Nothing happens.
“The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force. My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We’re not trying to defund the police and take all their money away. We’re trying to get them to protect us, just like they protect everybody else.”
Jaylen Brown of the Boston Celtics, who in the wake of George Floyd’s murder drove 19 hours to Atlanta to protest, following the Jacob Blake shooting.
“There is an emphasis in this country on the framing of these instances, such as Jacob Blake. ‘Well, he was a convicted felon, he had a history of police brutality, he possibly had a weapon.’ This framework is not unfamiliar to people of color or African Americans, nor does it constitute death or being shot seven times.
“The reality is, the majority of African Americans and people of color have a history with the police. It comes with plagues like systemic oppression, lack of education, economic opportunity and housing.
“Most people of color, most minority communities, have issues with the police.
“The question that I would like to ask is: does America think Black people or people of color are uncivilized, savages, or naturally unjust? Or are we products of the environments that we participate in? That’s the question I would like to ask to America and America has proven its answer over and over and over again. Are we not human beings? Is Jacob Blake not a human being?
“I don’t care if he did something 10 years ago, 10 days ago, 10 minutes ago. If he served his sentence and he was released back into society, he still deserves to be treated like a human and does not deserve to be shot in the back seven times with the intent to kill. His kids will never unsee that, his family will never unsee that, and, frankly, I will never unsee it.
“People post my jersey all the time, No. 7. Every time I look at my jersey now, what I see is a Black man being shot seven times. All America sees is his background or his background report. It’s easier to see that than it is to see the truth.”
And finally, here’s Aaron Rodgers, quarterback of the Green Bay Packers after a team meeting this week.
“There’s a systemic problem. And until the problem is fixed, this is going to be an all-too-common sighting in this country.
“It obviously hits home being not far from Green Bay. I’m not going to comment directly on the video until more facts come out, but obviously it’s something whereas a non-police officer, I think [for] a lot of us [the] natural question is, when is lethal force necessary? Again, I think that goes to a systematic problem that needs to be addressed at some point. There’s antiquated laws that are prejudicial against people of color in this state. I think the governor and the folks at the Capitol need to take a hard look at some of those systems that are in place.
“I’ve always tried to listen first, and listening involves being silent. I think there’s too many opinions. There’s an entitlement that comes with a lot of opinions. There’s a lot of opinions and statements made out of emotion. When you react first out of emotion, you lack the ability to listen. I think in listening, you find that empathy.
And it’s only through empathy and understanding that you can truly, I think, have a better awareness about kind of what the actual issues are, being a white male. That’s what I’ve been trying to do for years.
“I grew up playing sports, playing basketball. I never saw color. It was just my friends, and there was no difference, but when you start listening and understanding, you realize the reality that you grew up in is much different than the reality that many of my teammates have grown up in. I think that’s the first step toward educating yourself about what some of these issues are and the root of them.
“Again, I’ll say it again: This is a systemic problem, and the root of ‘systemic’ is ‘system.’ Until the system’s changed, there’s not going to be a whole lot of change in this country. That’s where we need to start, I think, with the legislature and protocol, training and again it’s money as well.”
If agreed with Aaron Rodgers you’re asking for action on your own terms. Convenient action. You do not need more facts. The time for change is now, it’s not “at some point.”
At some point is right now, and if you can’t see, hear, and feel the hurt imminating from Rivers and Brown and hundreds of thousands of other across the country, then take a moment and check yourself.
Sports are a reward for a functioning society. If you think we’re living in one, you’re not paying attention. Thankfully, the Milwaukee Bucks, and the rest of the NBA, are helping you out. This is about more than basketball.
Black Lives Matter.
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