The Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers have reportedly voted to boycott the remainder of the NBA season in protest of police brutality and social justice.
According to Shams Charania of The Athletic, most of the teams taking part in the vote on Wednesday were in favor of continuing the playoffs. The boycott is in response to the police shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake.
Blake was shot in front of his children on Sunday while attempting to get into his car after reportedly breaking up a fight between two women. The shooting took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city just 45 minutes from where the Bucks play in Milwaukee.
theGrio previously reported that Lakers star LeBron James condemned the shooting on Monday and admitted that the incident has left him quite shaken.
“If you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here lying not only to me, but you’re lying to every African American, every Black person in the community,” James told the media earlier this week from the NBA ‘bubble’ where players have been sequestered since July 30.
Six teams boycotted their playoff games Wednesday, with the Milwaukee Bucks leading the charge.
“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable,” Bucks guard George Hill told reporters, per SI.com. “For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality, and criminal justice reform.”
Wednesday’s vote reportedly saw players from the Bucks, the Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets and Portland Trail Blazers, in favor of the boycott. James left the meeting following the vote, but not before urging team owners to be more involved with social justice and racial issues, per Charania.
“Miami’s Udonis Haslem spoke and essentially told everyone in room that — without Lakers and Clippers, how will season continue?” Charania reported. “LeBron James walked out. Rest of Lakers and Clippers exited behind him.”
News of the meeting — which was attended by coaches and referees –comes amid reports that Milwaukee Bucks were the first to boycott their potential closeout game 5 playoff game against the Orlando Magic, theGrio reported.
Support from the rest of the sports world was swift, as players from the NBA, NFL, and other sports figures and teams responded in solidarity with the NBA boycott.
TNT co-host Kenny Smith walked off the set of Inside the NBA in support of his former colleagues. Tennis star Naomi Osaka backed out of her upcoming semifinal match in the Southern Open, and the Los Angeles Dodgers announced they would sit out tonight’s game against the San Francisco Giants.
Meanwhile, ESPN Senior NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski noted on Twitter that “the Clippers and Lakers voting on perhaps not continuing with the season was considered more of a polling, than a final vote, sources tell ESPN. The resumption of the playoffs remains still up in the air,” he wrote.
Adding in a follow up tweet, “Discussions on continuing season will extend into tomorrow, sources tell ESPN, but appears unlikely the three playoff games on Thursday will be played.”
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