This has been a sad 72 hours for me.
First, we had the Jacob Blake shooting by police officers in Kenosha, Wisconsin (he’s now paralyzed from the waist down, by the way). Next, we had a 17-year-old Trump-supporting goon come in FROM ILLINOIS to shoot three protesters (killing two) in Kenosha in the name of “keeping the peace”.
All this led the NBA players, starting with the Milwaukee Bucks, to strike (not ‘boycott’) and not play last night and tonight’s playoff games. That was the most proud that I, a 40-something black dude, was of our black athletes — and the white athletes who support them — for using their power and influence to take a stand.
Now I’m not going to lie, I was initially taken aback by the NBA’s decision to resume the playoffs.
The heart of any social activism is sacrifice. We’ve seen this with Colin Kaepernick four years ago. Older people have seen this with Muhammad Ali, Tommie Smith and John Carlos in the 1960s. I think the NBA players words would have meant more if they would have shut the rest of the playoffs down because they would have shown the rest of the country how serious they are about wanting to see change in policing, revenue be damned.
That said, I understand that the NBA players have used their time in the bubble to get their message across. “Black Lives Matter” displayed on the court for all to see on television. The messages that most are wearing on the back on their jerseys. Without the bubble, how widespread would the players’ message be?
I understand the players not wanting to lose more money by forfeiting the rest of the playoffs. I’d want to hold onto my cheddar as long as I could as well.
But more importantly, the power is in the platform. And if there were no more games, where would the players go to espouse the message? Where would they get their power?
I’m still proud of these NBA players. I’m proud of the players in Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer who didn’t play any games last night. I’m proud of the NFL players who postponed practices yesterday and today, as well as the coaches who supported them.
As long as these players have a plan to move forward and bring about change in law enforcement, I’m all in.