NBA to resume playoffs, sources say
NBA Players have voted to resume the playoffs, likely starting over the weekend
The NBA season is set to resume this weekend, ESPN reporter Adrian Wojnarowski has reported according to ESPN. Thursday’s scheduled games will not be played.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks decided as a team not to take the floor for their game 5 contest with the Orlando Magic, likely a closeout game for the Bucks, among the favorites to bring home a championship this season.
As reported by theGrio, the team told nobody in the league, including their ownership or the Magic, about their plans to boycott the game. Their decision rippled through the sports world. It ultimately caused the WNBA, some MLB teams, most of major league soccer teams and tennis star Naomi Osaka to boycott games as well.
On Thursday, seven NFL teams did not practice, according to reports. The Bears, Broncos, Cardinals, Colts, Jets, Packers, Titans and the Washington Football Team all elected to cancel their scheduled practices in solidarity with the other leagues.
After evening meetings with all of the remaining teams in the NBA ‘bubble’ it was said that the Lakers and Clippers were set to boycott the rest of the NBA season and that LeBron James, who has been outspoken on racial issues, walked out of the meeting.
However, some reports came back that that was not a definitive vote.
According to ESPN, players held a meeting at 11 a.m. EST to discuss the next move and have another planned with two players from each team to discuss a way forward to address social justice inequities.
The NBA has already committed $300M to social justice initiatives, a move announced earlier this year. The deaths of George Floyd while in the custody of Minneapolis police, Breonna Taylor who was killed in a police raid in Louisville and the targeting and shooting of Ahmaud Arbery by two white men in Georgia sparked global protests in June.
The police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday was the catalyst that made the Bucks, who play about 45 minutes away in Milwaukee feel that enough was enough and that their platform could be used to bring more attention to continued plight of Black men and women in the US.
Players from the Bucks, with assistance from the team owners, were able to organize a conference call with Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, and the state’s attorney general, Josh Kaul.
Several NBA players, including Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving advocated for the league not to restart after it was suspended by the pandemic in March. That was ultimately shot down and Irving was derided online. Yesterday, his fans on social media demanded an apology.
Players from 22 teams were sequestered at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando in the midst of the pandemic to finish out the NBA 2019-2020 season. The NBA re-start began on July 30. Because of the novel coronavirus, the bubble was thought to be the best way to keep players safe, but some players, including Irving, believed returning to the court would dilute their message of social justice.
Though no one has publicly spoken, the players were told, according to multiple reports, that the collective bargaining agreement would be invalidated if a boycott continued and the players would face a lockout and a CBA would be redrawn based on the financial realities of the coronavirus pandemic.
The current CBA, signed in 2016, is set to last through the 2023–24 season but players and the league can opt-out of it after the 2022–23 season.
The NBA teams left in the bubble are expected to be joined by their families on Monday, ESPN reports.
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