After a meeting of players and coaches on Thursday, Aug. 27, the NBA may reportedly resume its season. This comes on the heels of Wednesday’s meeting in which the group failed to decide on whether to postpone or end the season entirely. This follows the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and subsequent protests in Kenosha over that shooting. On Sunday, Aug. 23, 29-year-old Blake was shot by a white police officer seven times as his back was turned, after officers responded to a domestic incident.
According to DEADLINE, Shams Charania of The Atheltic said that after a three-hour-long meeting, Lebron James walked out after having not decided on the fate of the remainder of the season. The rest of the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers followed behind him. Both teams voted to end the season while all other teams reportedly voted to continue playing this season, according to Shams Charania, a sports reporter with The Atlantic.
The motion comes after the playoff games were postponed when the Milwaukee Bucks — the team nearest to Kenosha — decided not to play their game Wednesday night and instead took a stance with protesters demanding justice.
On Monday, Aug. 24, TMZ released a separate video of Blake’s shooting from the one that initially surfaced. The clip showed Blake and the officers having a physical struggle right before shots were fired. Blake is reportedly paralyzed from the waist down following the shooting. Meanwhile, two Kenosha officers involved were put on administrative leave.
Following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, NBA and WNBA players had already been very vocal about the injustices Black people and people of color face when in contact with law enforcement. Aside from sitting out of their scheduled games, members of the WNBA’s Washington Mystics wore shirts that spelled out the name of Blake. Each shirt also had seven bullet holes painted on the back to mark the seven shots that struck him.
Other professional athletes from other arenas have since come out to show their support in some compelling ways, including rising tennis star Naomi Osaka. On Wednesday, the two-time Grand Slam champion announced via Twitter that she had dropped out the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open in New York in protest over the Blake shooting.
In a tweet, the Haitian-Japanese star wrote, “Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman.” She continued, “And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis. 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 concluded her statement, saying, “I’m exhausted of having a new hashtag pop up every few days and I’m extremely tired of having this same conversation over and over again. When will it ever be enough?”
Sloane Stephens, a former U.S. Open champ, and Coco Gauff, both Black, retweeted Osaka’s post. Several hours after Osaka released her announcement, the tournament, a warmup to next week’s U.S. Open, announced that it would pause play on Thursday, Aug. 27.
“As a sport, tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice that once again has been thrust to the forefront in the United States,” a statement from the USTA, ATP and WTA said. “The USTA, ATP Tour, and WTA have decided to recognize this moment in time by pausing play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday, Aug. 27. Play will resume on Friday, Aug. 28.”
The NBA boycott was also joined by teams from Major League Soccer and Major League Baseball, including the Milwaukee Brewers, Cincinnati Reds, as well as the San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers, all of which walked off the field in solidarity for the protests taking place.
Ironically, Wednesday’s boycotts come on the fourth anniversary of Colin Kaepernick‘s very first protest, where he infamously took a knee during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL preseason game.