Milwaukee Bucks Boycott Stance Sends Shockwaves Across Sports World

 Milwaukee Bucks Boycott Stance Sends Shockwaves Across Sports World
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[Milwaukee Bucks\Giannis Antetokounmpo]
NBA: "The Bucks spoke with Wisconsin government officials during their lengthy locker room meeting (and in particular the state attorney general) in order to get answers and suggestions on how to force immediate change."
Photo: YouTube

NBA superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo (above middle) and the Milwaukee Bucks took a stand against police violence and racism by boycotting their playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

Shortly after 1:30 pm on Wednesday, Giannis Antetokounmpo left the locker room in practice gear and walked toward the court inside the main arena here at the NBA restart. He wore a serious game face, which was unusual because tipoff against the Orlando Magic was still more than two hours away, but it was a hint.

A few minutes later, the reigning Kia MVP made a U-turn, without pregame workout sweat, the first sign that something was up. He was joined by Khris Middleton, and when those All-Stars returned inside the locker room, they didn’t emerge again for five hours, well after they and their teammates shook the NBA and the sports world.

The 2019-20 Milwaukee Bucks may eventually win this year’s championship, assuming it will be played. And if they do, they may not generate the same level of spirited national conversation and rousing applause in some circles than they just did -- by refusing to play a No. 8 seed in a playoff game.

Stung by the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, Wisc., just 40 minutes south of Milwaukee, and disturbed by what they felt was a sluggish response from authorities to find justice, the Bucks chose to take a unified stand by taking a unified seat. They knew the historical significance of that; no professional sports team ever refused to play a game because of social injustice, not even in the 1960s. Black players on the Celtics in 1961, including Bill Russell, did skip an exhibition game in Lexington, Ky., after they were refused service at a local restaurant. However, the team did play that night, with seven players.

Russell was a trail blazer during that turbulent time in America. He never refused to play during the Civil Rights era, but he did praise the Bucks through social media, writing on Twitter: "I’m moved by all the NBA players for standing up for what is right.”

The Bucks spoke with Wisconsin government officials during their lengthy locker room meeting (and in particular the state attorney general) in order to get answers and suggestions on how to force immediate change. While that took place, the dominoes pushed by the Bucks fell quickly beyond the locker room. Two other playoff games Wednesday were scrapped and player support both here and beyond Orlando was thermal for the Bucks, Magic, Lakers, Blazers, Thunder and Rockets -- all of whom were all scheduled to play. They were joined by the player’s union, NBA coaches, team owners, even some of the sponsors with paid ads on the canceled telecasts, and that was just among league circles. This became bigger than the Bucks.

Other sports leagues then fell in line with the ripple: WNBA, Major Lague Baseball, Major League Soccer and tennis, all seeing game cancellations or some manner of player protest.

Read the rest of this story here: https://www.nba.com/article/2020/08/26/milwaukee-bucks-take-stand-sends-...

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