The players for the Milwaukee Bucks have released a collective statement following their boycott of the NBA playoff game against the Orlando Magic on Wednesday evening, a cancellation the Milwaukee team attributed to the need to focus on racial injustice in the United States.
“Over the last few days, in our home state of Wisconsin, we’ve seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball,” a player told reporters after the game was cancelled, speaking on behalf of the team.
Another player continued with the statement, adding: “When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, to give maximum effort, and hold each other accountable. We hold ourself to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement. We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction, and take the meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality, and criminal justice reform.”
“We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on November 3rd,” he concluded.
As The Daily Wire previously reported, the Bucks decided against playing the playoffs game earlier today amidst the violent unrest in Kenosha, where 29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot by a police officer seven times on Sunday. The NBA has claimed the game and two others will be rescheduled, but in a video conference clip posted by ESPN reporter Malika Andrews, the team declined to answer whether they planned to finish the season.
The Milwaukee Bucks statement: pic.twitter.com/F7XOPs4NqE
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) August 26, 2020
MLB players for the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds also cancelled a baseball game slated for Wednesday evening, citing their desire to draw attention to “racial and systemic oppression” in a moment of national pain.
After the three games were cancelled, Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Haul (D) provided details on the events that precipitated the shooting, saying that police officers initially tried to arrest Blake, then fired at him with a taser. Blake was not stopped, and Haul said he proceeded to walk “around his vehicle, open the driver side door, and lean forward.”
The attorney general told reporters that police officer Rustin Sheskey, a 7-year veteran of the police force, then shot Blake in the back seven times while holding him by the shirt. Haul also said that Blake told police he had a knife, and investigators recovered a knife from the driver’s side of his car.