NBA Cancels Thursday Games, But Deal In Works To Resume Playoffs this Weekend – Reports
NBA players have voted to resume the playoffs but will take another night off on Thursday in response to the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, WI.
ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and other reporters cited unidentified sources in saying players decided today to resume the season but after at least one more night off in the wake of Jacob Blake’s shooting and resulting protests. Wojnarowski tweeted that a meeting between owners and players had been scheduled for later Thursday. “The discussion is expected to include plans of action moving forward on social justice issues,” he wrote.
The league has not yet confirmed the news and the timeline for the coming days remained unclear.
Three games per night have been on the docket from the bubble environment in Orlando, FL, which was created as a solution to COVID-19 after it interrupted the season (and much else) in mid-March. When the league, team owners and players reached an agreement to resume the season in the bubble, some significant commitments to social justice were woven into the plan. The courts are painted with large “Black Lives Matter” lettering, players can opt to wear related slogans on their jerseys and the NBA made a $300 million commitment to social justice causes.
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But the events in Kenosha offered proof that much more progress needs to be made. Wednesday night saw the historic action of players – led by the Milwaukee Bucks, whose home arena is just 40 miles from Kenosha – refusing to play their games. Bucks players had conversations with authorities in Wisconsin about repercussions for the police involved in the shooting of Blake.
The LA Lakers and LA Clippers took an initial vote indicating they were in favor of skipping the rest of the season. That would have violated the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement with the players’ union, which limits the players’ ability to walk off the job. The result could have been not only financial difficulty in 2020 but also longer-term headaches.
Several NFL teams called off practices Thursday in solidarity with the NBA-led movement. Major League Soccer also paused action, as did pro tennis when Naiomi Osaka became the first individual athlete to opt out of playing.
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