The Bucks – then Rockets, Thunder, Lakers and Trail Blazers – decided to boycott their playoff games today. In response, the NBA postponed those games.
But players aren’t united on sitting out long-term.
This same discussion happened before the resumption. Some players urged boycotting. Others advocated for playing.
Obviously, a large majority decided to report to the bubble.
How much has anyone’s thinking changed?
Police shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin. That incident sparked national outrage, including among NBA players.
But many NBA players already knew that type of violence occurs. That’s why they’re kneeling during the national anthem, wearing corporate-approved social-justice messages on jerseys and speaking up during press conferences. Those methods, while not as attention-grabbing as a boycott, have raised awareness of racial injustice.
Not quickly enough, of course. Anything slower than instant is not quick enough. It is completely understandable that some players feel distressed by the situation, maybe even unable to focus on basketball.
But racism is a deep-seated problem that will take years to properly address. As frustrating as that is, it’s also reality, and it’s worth keeping perspective.
Walking away could be devastating financially to players. Their salaries can be transformational. And there’s no guarantee a boycott will achieve more meaningful change.
The players who want to stop playing can always leave the bubble. They should be supported in that personal choice.
It gets hairier when they push for a leaguewide shutdown. That puts all players’ salaries into jeopardy and removes a platform some players feel they’re using productively.
The players must get together and discuss how to proceed. Because they’re clearly not all on the same page right now.