NBA players decided to boycott tonight’s games to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The move was initiated by the Milwaukee Bucks, but it wouldn’t have much impact if it weren’t joined by other players, organizations, media, fans and everyone that is involved. Huge props. A few players such as Lebron James and Donovan Mitchell already tweeted their frustration with the social injustice and their demand for change. Swiftly after the NBA announced the boycott, other leagues such as WNBA and MLB followed suit by postponing their games.
I have nothing, but respect for everyone who stood up and used their influence. Some people question the effectiveness of this boycott, saying it wouldn’t change anything. Well, isn’t that sad? These athletes have a huge following and influence. They are trying to put it to good use. It’s true that it may not bring about immediate change as they work on wooden floors in arenas, not in Washington DC or state buildings. Their actions; however, bring attention to the issue at hand and influence others, especially league officials and team owners, many of who have a lot more influence in the political world than these players. From a corporate perspective, if you are Nike, will you risk the wrath of these players by not standing with them? I am not saying that anti-racism isn’t a value that Nike naturally endorses, but financially speaking, it makes sense to stand with the players.
I am perplexed by some who criticized this boycott. If it’s unacceptable to kneel peacefully during an anthem, walk peacefully on the streets to voice opinions or simply boycott a basketball game to demand change that is long overdue, I don’t know what is acceptable any more. Only no right to protest is acceptable? Is that even American? If even these actions can’t be accepted, what could black people do? Just take everything on the chin and live on?
Critics of the protests argue that the police had their reason in shooting George Floyd as he was resisting or Jacob Blake as he was allegedly reaching for a knife on his car’s floor. But why is shooting people the first option that police take when it comes to black people? A 17-year old white guy killed two people in Kenosha with an AR-15 and he was taken into custody. Many white protestors came to state buildings a few months ago, armed heavily, to demand the lifting of state at home orders. Nobody was shot. I am glad that nobody was shot, but if those people had been black, I am confident things would have turned out very differently.
I am not black, so I can’t fully relate to the pain and fear of black people. But I am not white either. As a minority living in this country and much more importantly as a fellow human being, I support their protest completely. To round this off, I leave with the powerful speech by Coach Doc Rivers, who said: it’s amazing that we keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back.