2nd day of NBA games halted over racial injustice, while hockey fans await word on NHL

Members of the San Jose Earthquakes depart the stadium where the team had been scheduled to play the Portland Timbers in an MLS soccer match in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Major League Soccer players boycotted five games Wednesday night in a collective statement against racial injustice. The players’ action came after all three NBA playoff games were called off in a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday night.Members of the San Jose Earthquakes depart the stadium where the team had been scheduled to play the Portland Timbers in an MLS soccer match in San Jose, Calif., Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020. Major League Soccer players boycotted five games Wednesday night in a collective statement against racial injustice. The players’ action came after all three NBA playoff games were called off in a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday night.
An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time in of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. NBA players made their strongest statement yet against racial injustice Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time in of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. NBA players made their strongest statement yet against racial injustice Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks didn’t take the floor for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

An unprecedented NBA walkout over racial injustice postponed a second day of the playoffs Thursday, although players pledged to finish the post-season even as they wrestled with their emotions about wanting to bring change in their communities.

For now, the basketball courts in the NBA’s virus-free bubble at Disney World remained empty. And other athletes across the sports world also said they weren’t ready to resume playing.

They are still angry and emotional after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. NBA players considered not playing again the rest of the post-season and going home to their communities, although they decided Thursday they wanted to continue, according to a person with knowledge of the details. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because no official announcement had been made.

“We obviously agree that whether we play or not, we still have to do our best to make change and we still have to do our part in the community,” Orlando guard Michael Carter-Williams said in a video interview with a Magic public relations official.

“It’s obviously not easy, given everything that’s going on. But I think that if we can go out there and do our best and also have a list of things that we want to accomplish, everything gets completed.”

The NBA decided to postpone three more games Thursday to join the three that weren’t played a day earlier.

NBA spokesman Mike Bass said the league hoped to resume Friday or Saturday. He added in as statement that a group of players at Disney would hold a video conference call later Thursday with representatives of the owners, including Michael Jordan, and National Basketball Players Association to discuss the next steps.

The tennis tours had already decided they would pause play Thursday at the Western & Southern Open in Flushing Meadows, New York; a number of NFL teams cancelled practices; and pressure was being put on the NHL by members of the Hockey Diversity Alliance to postpone its two second-round playoff games.

A second night of WNBA games were also postponed and other teams and sports pondered whether they would play on.

“This is not a strike. This is not a boycott. This is a affirmatively day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization,” WNBA players’ union president Nneka Ogwumike said on ESPN.

Three Major League Baseball games were postponed Wednesday, although others went on.

The sudden stoppages was reminiscent of March, when the NBA suspended its season after Utah centre Rudy Gobert tested positive for the coronavirus. Other sports quickly followed until the worldwide sporting landscape had almost completely come to a halt.

NBA players agreed to resume their season in July at Disney, making clear they intended to chase social justice reform just as passionately as a championship. But the video of Blake’s shooting on Sunday left them so disgusted and dispirited that they wondered whether they should continue playing.

The players voiced their frustrations in a meeting Wednesday night, then continued talks Thursday morning. As they prepared to do that, NBA referees led a march around campus to show their support in the fight against racism.

Play had been set to resume at 4 p.m. with Game 6 of the Western Conference series between Utah and Denver. Boston and Toronto were also to begin their second-round series before the Clippers and Dallas met in the nightcap.

It was the Raptors and Celtics who had been most vocal about the idea of not playing, but the Milwaukee Bucks acted first when they opted to remain in their locker room instead of playing their Game 5 against Orlando on Wednesday. Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

Before coming to Disney, many NBA 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 that playing would give them the largest platform — while also providing a bigger target for critics.

The NBA’s relationship with the White House eroded when Donald Trump was elected after President Barack Obama was close with some players and officials. Trump was critical of the league again Thursday.

“They’ve become like a political organization, and that’s not a good thing,” Trump told reporters, noting that the league’s ratings are down from previous seasons. “I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.”

Earlier Thursday, Vice-President Mike Pence’s chief of staff Marc Short said in a CNN interview that the NBA protests are “absurd and silly” when compared to their response to ongoing to human rights violations in China.

READ MORE: Analyst says NHL should have postponed playoff games after NBA boycott

—-

Reynolds reported from Miami.

___

Brian Mahoney And Tim Reynolds, The Associated Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

NBAracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Dean Olsen Missing Poster
Blackfalds RCMP seek public assistance to locate missing male

Dean Olsen was last seen on Jan. 20 in Red Deer County

Alberta Premier Jason Kenney said the Canadian government should consider sanctions on the U.S. if they refuse to reconsider the decision to cancel the Keystone XL Pipeline. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Keystone XL officially cancelled, Kenney vows to fight on

U.S. President Joe Biden cancelled the presidential permit for the pipeline on first day of office

Alberta’s chief medical officer of health Dr. Deena Hinshaw said province’s test positivity rate for COVID-19 is steadily declining. (Photo by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
669 new COVID-19 cases in Alberta, 21 additional deaths

COVID-19 test positivity rate down to 4.5 per cent

Kyla Gibson with her boyfriend Gavin Hardy. (Photo used with permission)
Sylvan Lake couple lose ‘fur babies’ to house fire

‘They were our world and nothing will ever replace them,’ Kyla Gibson said of her three pets

Alberta Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Deena Hinshaw reported an additional 456 COVID-19 cases over the past 24 hours. (photography by Chris Schwarz/Government of Alberta)
Five new COVID-19 deaths in Central zone, two in Red Deer

Province reports 456 new cases of COVID-19

A scene from “Canada and the Gulf War: In their own words,” a video by The Memory Project, a program of Historica Canada, is shown in this undated illustration. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO - Historica Canada
New video marks Canada’s contributions to first Gulf War on 30th anniversary

Veterans Affairs Canada says around 4,500 Canadian military personnel served during the war

(Photo submitted)
Community Futures brings back Social Media Challenge for 2021

This time the challenge is for non-profits and community groups

Lucas Berg, left, with the backpacks filled with essential items he donated to the Red Deer Mustard Seed Jan. 19, 2021. (Photo submitted)
Central Alberta teenager donates filled 20 backpacks to Red Deer Mustard Seed

Lucas Berg, 14, of Ponoka County says he ‘just wants to help people’

A conveyor belt transports coal at the Westmoreland Coal Co.’s Sheerness mine near Hanna, Alta., on Tuesday, Dec. 13, 2016. Coal mining impacts are already occurring in Alberta’s Rocky Mountains even as debate intensifies over the industry’s presence in one of the province’s most beloved landscapes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
As Alberta debates coal mining, industry already affecting once-protected Rockies

UCP revoked a policy that had protected eastern slopes of the Rockies from open-pit coal mining since 1976

In this Dec. 18, 2020 photo, pipes to be used for the Keystone XL pipeline are stored in a field near Dorchester, Neb. TC Energy Corp. is planning to eliminate more than 1,000 construction jobs related to its decision to halt work on its Keystone XL pipeline expansion project. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chris Machian /Omaha World-Herald via AP
TC Energy cutting more than 1,000 Keystone XL construction jobs as Biden pulls permit

Some 200 kilometres of pipe have already been installed for the expansion

(Thesendboys/Instagram)
Video of man doing backflip off Vancouver bridge draws police condemnation

Group says in Instagram story that they ‘don’t do it for the clout’

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

Most Read