After Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wis. in August, the NBA players chose to not play in solidarity with Black people who have been the victims of police violence.
The Clippers were one of the teams who originally voted to cancel the rest of the season until the players agreed to come back in exchange for more investment in Black businesses, a social justice council, and the use of most NBA arenas as vote centers in the November general election.
On Tuesday, the officer who shot Blake was not charged for his actions, and then on Wednesday, rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on the day that the presidential election results were supposed to be certified. The Blake news in and of itself was hard for the NBA players to process, and then the events of Wednesday added another of layer of trauma.
The players took a knee before the game, but two Clippers thought the NBA would have been better off not playing the games at all last night in order to shine the spotlight on D.C.
“My personal opinion (is) that wasn’t enough,” Marcus Morris Sr. said postgame. “You know, I don’t think we should have played. But we did and we came together and we thought taking a knee was appropriate.
“I think guys were already in the mode of playing. But if it was my decision, I wouldn’t have any games. Stuff is bigger than basketball man. This is secondary to what is going on in this country. Just out of respect I thought we shouldn’t have played.”
Paul George expressed a similar opinion to Morris about the league taking the day off to keep the focus elsewhere.
“I would have been all for the league just shutting down,” George said. “I think this was something that definitely should have been addressed. But there’s a middle line to it, there’s a fine line to it because it does give some positivity with people being able to watch games and basketball going on to change what people are feeling and thinking and ultimately what’s on TV. It’s bittersweet but I definitely would have been all for if the league shut down today to kind of just bring light to what’s really going on in the world.”
Every game ended up being played, and no players sat out, but the violence in the Capitol was not forgotten. Far from it.
More news for Thursday:
- The Celtics and Heat played in the first ESPN game Wednesday, and they issued a statement about why they felt playing was the right choice.
- Jaylen Brown of the Celtics referenced Martin Luther King Jr.’s speech about the two Americas in his postgame comments. Several other players alluded to that sentiment.
- Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet spoke about the inequities displayed over the past two days.
- George Hill responded to the decision to exonerate the officer who shot Blake.