Only minutes before tipoff of the Game 5 playoff competition against the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks col lectively chose not take the floor, to protest the fatal police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29yearold unarmed black man, in Kenosha, Wis., 31 kilometers from their home stadium.

Sports protests: For black athletes, this is personal

In more than a century of American professional sports,”there had never been anything like” what occurred last week,” said Dylan Scott at Vox.com. Only minutes before tipoff of the Game 5 playoff competition against the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks col lectively chose not take the floor, to protest the fatal police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29yearold unarmed black man, in Kenosha, Wis., 31 kilometers from their home stadium. This historic protest by athletes sick of being told to”shut up and dribble,” as Fox News’ Laura Ingraham once placed it, ignited a fire that spread throughout the NBA and into other sports. “We demand change,” LeBron James tweeted after his Los Angeles Lakers also refused to playwith. “Sick of it.” The New York Mets and Miami Marlins both walked off the area after laying a Black Lives Matter Tshirt on home plate. For 2 weeks, the”dramatic work stoppage” threatened the remainder of the NBA playoffs, said Sopan Deb at The New York Times. Next, after many players consulted with former President Barack Obama about a way forward, they struck a deal with possession to flip the league’s stadiums, where possible, into survey ing areas for the November election.


Not all fans were sympathetic, said Jemele Hill in TheAtlantic
. com. Senior White House advisor Jared Kushnera rich, entitled heir, spoke for many when he snidely dismissed the players as”very lucky they have the fiscal position where they’re able to take a night away from work.” In the actual world, black players know from personal experience that their wealth and fame does not shield them from”the horror black individuals have experienced at the hands of the police.” Two years ago, police faced Bucks small forward Sterling Brown in a Walgreens parking lot, tasered him, wrestled him into the floor, and threw him into a prison cell. When bodycam footage showed Brown had
Not fought , he had been offered a $400,000 settlement–that he resigned. “I need more than just money,” Brown said. “I need cops to show respect and be held liable.” Theanger has been building for a while, ” said Nick Greene at Slate.com. When the NBA resumed play in its own”bubble” in late June, many players did so reluc
Tantly, concerned their matches might function as a distraction from the Dark Lives Matter protests that erupted in the wake of George Floyd’s passing. They decided


To turn the games into a stage that would allow them to speak out. Participants have worn BLM slogans on their own jerseys, knelt for the national anthem, and even played courts emblazoned with BLM decals.
Most fans, however, don’t want politics mixed in with their own sports, stated Jim Geraghty in NationalReview.com. The NBA’s rat ings are down 30 percent over last season’s and even more from their 1980s heyday. Back then, the notably apolitical Michael Jordan was a worldwide hero,”that the pitchman for every product under sunlight.” The gamers’ boycotts were”an empty gesture,” said Zachary Faria at WashingtonExaminer.com. If stars like James were really concerned about human rights, they wouldn’t be intentionally silent about China’s barbarous oppression of its Uighur Muslim minority from fear that the NBA would shed the billions that it gets for televising games there. The players'”performative” merit signaling”isn’t likely to attract about police reform” or”convince anyone to change their viewpoint.”


Scoff if you will, but”this silent rage” is not likely to”blow over,” said Nancy Armour at USA Today. For years, white America has lauded black athletes while still treating them”like crap when they take off their uniforms.” For the players, police abuse of black guys”is deeply personal,” and they’ll no longer be silent. Football is now our national game, rabidly followed by tens of thousands of millions of lovers, and if the Dallas Cowboys, New England Patriots, or even Green Bay Packers walk off the area and refuse to play a match, it is going to lead to shock waves. Their pro evaluations would”drive home a social justice message like none other.”

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