Milwaukee Bucks players stood in solidarity during a press conference as they explained why they chose to boycott playing Wednesday night over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, which spurred similar cessations of play across the NBA, the WNBA and stretching as far as Major League Baseball.
“Over the last few days in our own state of Wisconsin, we’ve seen the horrendous video of Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha and the additional shooting of protesters,” said Bucks guard Sterling Brown. “Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
Brown, who himself was the victim of police violence in a 2018 incident when he was tasered by officers, read the statement along with teammate, guard George Hill. The two stood in front of their entire team as they read.
“When we take the court to represent Milwaukee, Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable,” Hill said. “We hold ourselves to that standard and in this moment we demand the same from lawmakers and law enforcement.”
Watch the poignant moment below:
The Bucks were scheduled to play the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the NBA Playoffs, but did not take to the court Wednesday afternoon (Aug. 26). Instead the team led the charge in which several other NBA teams expected to play also paused in protest. Later, WNBA players, standing in solidarity, also chose not to play their Wednesday night games.
In a rare television moment, ‘Inside the NBA’ commentator Kenny Smith walked off the set, also standing in solidarity with the players.