‘A sad day’: NBA reacts to Capitol protest, Blake determination

With phrases and actions, a number of NBA groups confirmed dismay Wednesday hours after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump was in a position to storm the U.S. Capitol and in response to a call by a Wisconsin prosecutor to not cost a police officer who shot a Black man final 12 months.

In Miami, the Heat and Boston Celtics launched a joint assertion saying they have been taking part in “with a heavy heart” in a recreation the place most gamers and coaches knelt for the nationwide anthem. In Milwaukee, the Bucks and Detroit Pistons each took turnovers on their first possessions — deliberately, with all 10 gamers on the courtroom kneeling. And in Phoenix, the Suns and Toronto Raptors stood in a circle and linked arms for the American and Canadian anthems.

Earlier within the day on the Capitol, a mob delayed Congress from certifying the outcomes of November’s election and paving the way in which for President-elect Joe Biden to be sworn in later this month.

“It’s an embarrassing and shameful day in our country,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy mentioned.

Wednesday’s occasions got here at some point after the choice to to not convey costs in opposition to the officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin final 12 months was introduced. Blake’s taking pictures was one of many many points gamers centered on final season within the NBA restart bubble, the place the problems of racial injustice and police brutality have been a relentless focus.

The joint Heat-Celtics assertion mentioned, partially: “2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed. We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha, and knowing that protesters in our nation’s capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on.”

The Celtics mentioned the Blake determination earlier within the day, earlier than the occasions from the Capitol unfolded. The Celtics then met once more as a staff after arriving on the area in Miami, the place many televisions within the locker room areas — usually on sports activities channels — have been on the information.

“They’ve operated in a win-at-all-costs attitude,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens mentioned of Trump’s administration. “I don’t know, our sports world is a lot less important, obviously. But I’ve always thought if you operated with a win-at-all-costs attitude, it’s going to be a pretty unfulfilling ending. And in this situation, a disgraceful ending. So, I’m looking forward to two weeks from now, as I know a lot of other people are, too.”

Biden can be inaugurated two weeks from Wednesday, on Jan. 20.

The NBA had a rule for many years that gamers and coaches should stand for the nationwide anthem. That rule was relaxed final 12 months when the season resumed on the bubble inside Walt Disney World.

The Bucks received the opening faucet of their recreation, and as a substitute of working a play two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo merely held the ball as all gamers knelt. That resulted in a turnover, as did the following Detroit possession when Blake Griffin held the ball and gamers took a knee once more.

“We want to do things to help make change, be on the right side of the fight, continue to fight, not be in any way, shape or form distracted or slowed or moved in the wrong direction,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer mentioned. “We need to keep moving forward in all ways, shapes and forms.”

Meanwhile, a males’s school basketball recreation scheduled to be performed in Washington on Wednesday night time was postponed after a metropolis curfew was imposed in response to the mob’s actions on the Capitol. The Atlantic 10 Conference recreation between George Washington and UMass can be rescheduled by the league.

There have been 11 video games on Wednesday’s NBA schedule.

“It feels a little odd to play a game tonight, to be honest,” Charlotte coach James Borrego mentioned earlier than his membership performed in Atlanta.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers, who’s Black, spoke of the stark distinction between rallies throughout America final summer season that usually included violent skirmishes between protesters and police and what he watched on the Capitol on Wednesday.

“The symbolism of storming the Capitol without force done to them, if you’re a Black American, it definitely touches you in a different way,” Rivers mentioned. “This is not a Black thing. This is an American thing.”

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