Basketball going into Net

NBA Players Discuss Boycotting Playoffs Following Jacob Blake Shooting

Many players in the NBA are pausing their celebrations for making it into the next round of playoffs and are instead thinking of boycotting the games following the shooting of Jacob Blake and countless other black individuals in America at the hands of the police. 

Blake underwent surgery this past Tuesday, and his family updated the world by stating that he is alive, but now paralyzed from the waist down; doctors think it’s unlikely he’ll be able to regain motion. His shooting further fueled the hundreds of ‘Black Lives Matter’ protests that have been occuring every day in America since April following the murder of George Floyd.

Toronto Raptors point-guard Fred VanVleet recently confirmed ahead of his teams first game against the Boston Celtics that he and his fellow players had a private meeting where a boycott was brought up several times, sparking the interests of many players. 

“We’re the ones who always have to take a stand. Is it cool to wear Black Lives Matter on the backdrop or wear a T-shirt. Like what does that really mean? Is it really doing anything? I’m in a different place today just emotionally-speaking.”

The Raptors are still set to face-off against the Celtics this Thursday in Orlando. Marcus Smart, who is playing in his sixth season with the Celtics agrees with VanVleet, and recently told reporters that boycotting may be the only actual way they can make a difference. He claimed that they tried all the peaceful methods and “it’s not working, so obviously something has to be done.” Jaylen Brown who also plays on the Celtics said that everytime he looks at his Number 7 jersey all he sees “is a Black man being shot seven times.”

“The reality is the majority of African Americans have a history with the police. It comes with the plagues of systemic oppression, lack of education, economic opportunity, housing, et cetera. And most people of color, most minority communities, have history with the police.”

The Republican National Convention also kicked off this week, and Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers agreed with the many NBA players on their boycott stance based on how the convention was going. Rivers recently spoke with the media and claimed that what really stood out to him was the “spewing of fear.” 

Rivers personally doesn’t believe the police force needs to be completely defunded, but dramatically reformed in the ways in which officers are trained and hired. The fact that the National Guard and individual milita’s appear whenever protestors peacefully demand that justice be served for the countless black lives lost to police brutality is a major issue, says Rivers. He claims that he believes in good cops and just wants all cops to protect black people like they do everyone else. 

“That video [Jacob Blakes shooting], if you watch that video, you don’t need to be Black to be outraged. You don’t need to be American and outraged. And how dare the Republicans talk about fear?! We’re the ones that need to be scared.” The NBA has not commented in regard to what actions they would take if players did decide to boycott the remaining playoff games.

Police Car

Two Killed And One Injured By Gunman At Jacob Blake Protest

Kenosha police are continuing to search for a suspect seen on video armed with a large AK-47-type firearm, after he killed two people and wounded a third late Tuesday evening. The violence broke out during the third night of protests in Kenosha in response to the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake, a black man who was shot seven times at close range by city police officers. 

As of right now, Blake is alive, but partially paralyzed after the shooting. Directly after the incident videos of Blake getting shot began circulating on social media, sparking even more civil unrest within the Black Lives Matter protests that have been occurring every day nationwide since April. 

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At around 11:45 p.m. Tuesday night, officers responded to reports of shots fired and multiple gunshot victims near 63rd Street and Sheridan Road in Kenosha. When officers arrived they found that two people had been fatally shot and another had been seriously injured. The third victim luckily suffered no life-threatening injuries and is expected to make a relatively quick recovery, according to the Kenosha police department. 

Investigators are still looking into the exact events that transpired Tuesday evening, and are trying to piece together if the shooting was a result of a conflict that broke out between demonstrators and “self-styled militias guarding a gas station.” 

In videos circulating online, a chaotic scene at said gas station is seen unfolding, as a crowd seems to chase away a masked man carrying a large rifle, before another individual knocked him over and took his weapon to avoid any further injuries or potential fatalities. Another video showed a man with a serious arm wound thought to be the third victim who survived the shooting and another video showed a man with severe head injuries being crowded by a group of individuals trying to help him. Wisconsin Governor Tony Evers made a call for the protests to remain peaceful on Tuesday.

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“We cannot allow the cycle of systemic racism and injustice to continue. We also cannot continue to go down this path of damage and destruction.”

Many were quick to point out Evers hypocrisy after he declared a state of emergency and doubled the National Guard presence at the gatherings after making the above statement. Initially, there were 125 guards deployed in Kenosha and on Tuesday there were around 250. The civil unrest has led to 34 fires, and 30 businesses being completely destroyed as a result. 

Police still have said little about what actually happened with Jacob Blake, despite the circulating cell phone video that shows the officer shooting him multiple times while his kids watched from the backseat of his car. Blake’s family and the protesters in Kenosha are calling for the officer who shot Blake to be fired and arrested, and want all other officers present at the scene who did nothing to deescalate the situation to be fired. 

As of right now two Kenosha officers have been placed on administrative leave and are not being identified by the department. The shooting is currently being investigated by the Kenosha County District Attorney, Michael Graveley, and the Wisconsin Justice Department’s division of criminal investigation which will present a formal report of what transpired to Graveley’s office within the next 30 days. 

**UPDATE** 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse has been arrested and charged with the fatal Kenosha shooting