Former NFL linebacker Brian Urlacher slammed the NBA after players postponed two days of games as they considered boycotting the rest of the playoffs over the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Urlacher was inducted into the Pro-Football Hall of Fame in 2018 after a 13-year career in the NFL playing for the Chicago Bears. He put out a statement on his Instagram on Thursday afternoon calling out NBA players for faltering “in the face of adversity.”
“[Former NFL quarterback] Brett Favre played the [Monday Night Football] game on the day his dad died, threw 4 [touchdowns] in the first half, and was a legend for playing through the face of adversity,” Urlacher said. “NBA players boycott the playoffs because a dude reaching for a knife, wanted on a felony sexual assault warrant, was shot by police.”
Brian Urlacher calls out NBA players pic.twitter.com/JNAkngSq5b
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) August 27, 2020
NBA players and coaches met on Wednesday night to discuss the future of the NBA playoffs, still in its first round of play, after the Milwaukee Bucks refused to come out of their locker room and play their Game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic earlier in the day. The Bucks players refused to play in protest of Blake’s shooting by a police officer.
During the meeting, the two teams from Los Angeles, the Clippers and the Lakers, voted to boycott the rest of the 2020 season. Every other team, including the Bucks, moved to continue playing. Lakers star LeBron James walked out on the meeting after the vote, a move that “shocked” other players.
NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass released a statement on Thursday suggesting that talks were moving forward in the NBA to resolve whatever concerns that James and the rest of the players on the Clippers and Lakers teams voiced during the meeting. Reports said that James wanted team owners to take a more active role in certain racial social justice causes.
“NBA playoff games for today will not be played as scheduled. We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday,” Bass said. “There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps.”
The NBA’s deliberations are happening alongside a similar protest in the WNBA over the Blake shooting. As The Daily Wire reported:
On Wednesday, the WNBA postponed three games set to be played in Bradenton, Florida, to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake and other social justice grievances.
Players took to the court, not to play, but to wear bloody bullet hole t-shirts, which spelled out Blake’s name on the front, and to take a knee in “solidarity.”
A police officer shot Blake on Sunday after police were called to the scene of a domestic disturbance. Blake fought with officers after they arrived, allegedly prompting one to use a stun gun on him. The stun gun failed, and Blake opened the front driver’s side car door and leaned into the vehicle. An officer following Blake shot him seven times in the back. Investigators looking at Blake’s vehicle after the incident found a knife on the floorboard, and Blake has admitted to carrying the weapon.
One of the bullets that hit Blake severed his spinal cord, and Blake’s lawyer has said that it would be a “miracle” if he ever walked again.