NBA players to RESUME playoffs after short-lived boycott over Jacob Blake shooting – reports
NBA players have decided to resume the playoffs after boycotting games in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake, according to reports in the US.
According to ESPN, three games on Thursday will also be postponed but players have decided against scrapping the season altogether and will resume the playoffs, possibly as soon as Friday.
The news follows further meetings between players and NBA officials and owners on Thursday.
The Milwaukee Bucks initiated the boycott on Wednesday when they did not appear for the fifth game in their playoff series against the Orlando Magic, citing the recent police shooting of Blake in Kenosha.
They were joined in their decision by the Magic and other teams in the ‘NBA Bubble’ at Walt Disney World in Florida, where the remainder of the season is being played out due to the Covid-19 pandemic.
In addition to the Bucks-Magic game, two other matches – the Houston Rockets v the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the LA Lakers v the Portland Trail Blazers – were postponed on Wednesday.
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Players had reportedly been divided over the future of the season after initial meetings, with LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers said to have voted to end the season early.
Per reports from US media, it was argued that sitting out just one game isn’t seen as a robust enough protest, with James understood to want to see decisive action from team owners with regard to social justice issues.
“Essentially there was a plethora of players that felt blindsided by the decision that the Milwaukee Bucks made unilaterally. So now they were asking what is the plan moving forward, and did there not appear to be a clear and concise plan?” said ESPN‘s Stephen A. Smith.
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“So, as a result there was a vote that was taking place and essentially all of the teams voted to participate and continue playing these playoffs – with the exception of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers.
“Those are the two teams that from what I’m told that they were willing to cut the season short, plan and simple. They recognized the fact that no matter what, these playoffs don’t exist without the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers. There’s not going to be a strong level of credibility that comes along with that.”
After further reflection overnight and the discussions on Thursday, the consensus among players now appears to be toward finishing the season, with more meetings planned on addressing racial injustice issues as well as a definite date for when games will restart, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported.
The decision by the NBA teams to boycott games was soon followed in other leagues including the MLB and MLS, while Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka pulled out of her semifinal at the Western and Southern Open in New York, citing racial injustice in the US. Organizers put the tournament on hold as a result.
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