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BOYCOTTS DISRUPT
THE SPORTS WORLD

Update: On Friday, the NBA and the Players Association reached an agreement to restart the playoffs on Saturday. The league and the players also announced an agreement to convert arenas controlled by teams into polling locations for the 11/3 election.

With the NBA season close to collapsing, players and the league’s board of governors met Thursday morning to discuss how to proceed with the postseason. Thursday's games were postponed, but the players have agreed to resume the playoffs.

ESPN reports that two players from each team will convene with NBA team owners later today to create plans to address racial injustice issues. They are also expected to set a restart date for the playoffs, which a source said would likely be this weekend.

On Wednesday, The Lakers and Clippers reportedly said they want the season to end now as a demonstration for social justice.

Players from the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer boycotted games Wednesday in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday. The Justice Department has opened an investigation into shooting, The New York Times reported today.

The Milwaukee Bucks, whose arena is about 40 miles away from the crime scene, started the protest by not taking the floor in their game against the Orlando Magic. All of the NBA playoff games are being played at Disney World in Orlando, Fla.

Multiple reports out of the NBA bubble say the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers voted to boycott the remainder of the season during a meeting Wednesday. LeBron James walked out of the meeting and was followed by the rest  of the Lakers and the Clippers.

“WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT,” James tweeted late Wednesday afternoon, two days after tweeting, “And y’all wonder why we say what we say about the Police!! Someone please tell me WTF is this???!!! Exactly another black man being targeted. This shit is so wrong and so sad!! Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!! We want JUSTICE.”

Bucks players Sterling Brown and George Hill read a statement in which the players “are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it’s 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.”

The Bucks’ owners said “We will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”

In an emotional speech Tuesday, Clippers coach Doc Rivers, himself a son of a police officer, said,  "We're the ones getting killed. We're the ones getting shot. We're the ones that we're denied to live in certain communities. We've been hung. We've been shot. And all you do is keep hearing about fear” from Donald Trump and the Republican National Convention.

"The training has to change in the police force. The unions have to be taken down in the police force. My dad was a cop. I believe in good cops. We're not trying to defund the police and take all their money away. We're trying to get them to protect us, just like they protect everybody else."

In other sports, three of the 15 scheduled baseball games were canceled including the San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers game. “Throughout our country’s history, sport has been a powerful vehicle towards change,” the two teams said in a statement. “The Dodgers and Giants proudly join our players in the shared goal for a more equitable and just society.”

Seven MLB games were postponed on Thursday.

Five matches in Major League Soccer were postponed Wednesday after players objected to playing. Nashville vs. Orlando was played in front of a reduced-capacity crowd. WNBA players wore jerseys with Blake’s name on them.

In the NFL, the New York Jets, Green Bay Packers, Tennessee Titans, Arizona CardinalsIndianapolis Colts and the unnamed Washington, D.C. team canceled today’s practices in support of the boycotts. Jets coach Adam Gase and a few Jets players spoke Tuesday night about the shooting in a virtual meeting that included team Chairman and CEO Christopher Johnson.

The Baltimore Ravens will hold a post-practice meeting to “work on a plan for continued social justice reform efforts."

The U.S. Tennis Association is stopping play today at the Western & Southern Open.

 

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