SPORTSNET — NBA players have decided to resume the playoffs after a morning meeting, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
However, games scheduled for Thursday will be postponed.
The Toronto Raptors were scheduled to play the Boston Celtics.
Toronto guard Fred VanVleet was initially asked Wednesday about the Raptors upcoming series with the Celtics, but his mind quickly went to more important matters.
“Pretty excited,” he said of the series, “then we all had to watch Jacob Blake get shot. That kind of changes the tone of things and put things in perspective.
“That kind of all that’s been on my mind. Coming down here and making a choice to play, it was supposed to not be in vain but it is starting to feel like everything we’re doing is just going through the motions and nothing’s really changing,” he says in a statement on the team’s website.
“Here we are again with another unfortunate incident. So my thoughts today are with that man, and his family and trying to wrap my mind around what they’re going through.”
The NBA’s players have decided to resume the playoffs, source tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) August 27, 2020
According to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, there was a change in position among LeBron James and other players that it was in their best interest to finish the campaign in the bubble.
Players and the league are aiming to restart games on Friday, as per The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
The decision to cancel and postpone games was largely led by players who said they have had enough of racial injustice, and that more needs to be done to address the issue.
The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks refused to play a playoff game against the Orlando Magic in the wake of the Blake shooting and in support of Black Lives Matter.
NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts on Player Protest and Postponement of Games pic.twitter.com/bjy6hpP9kU
— NBPA (@TheNBPA) August 27, 2020
Blake, 29, was shot by police in Kenosha, Wis. He was unarmed and, according to his lawyer, left paralyzed after taking at least seven shots from behind.
The NBA and the NBPA, following the Bucks’ decision, cancelled all other playoff games on Wednesday.
“The biggest thing that we all understand is if we’re not playing, what are we doing? What are we doing to show and to help what’s going on outside this bubble?” Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams said, shortly before the Bucks were scheduled to tip off their game against the Magic.
Instead, the Bucks players remained in the locker room, finally emerging hours later to read a statement demanding action from lawmakers and encouraging voting by citizens.
They changed the narrative across the entire sports landscape, putting the focus squarely on social justice reform in protest of the shooting of Blake.
Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled, says the league.
WNBA also postposed games on Wednesday.
“The consensus is to not play in tonight’s slate of games and to kneel, lock arms and raise fists during the national anthem.” Atlanta dream centre Elizabeth Williams read in a statment. “We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA and will continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action.”
The New York Jets of the NFL cancelled practice on Thursday in support of ending racial injustice, while Washington and Indianapolis were reportedly considering the same.
The New York Jets have cancelled their practice in an apparent response to the shooting of Jacob Blake.https://t.co/xxy2HFoMhI
— Sportsnet (@Sportsnet) August 27, 2020
MLS cancelled five games on Wednesday in the wake of protests in Wisconsin.
The NHL did not cancel games on Wednesday, but did voice support for NBA teams who opted to boycott games to protest systemic racism and police brutality.