Toronto Raptors players are considering a boycott of their upcoming NBA playoff series opener against the Boston Celtics in the wake of another police shooting in USA.
The players held a team meeting prior to Tuesday’s practice to discuss their response to the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man shot in the back by police officers Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
“It’s being talked about … taking a knee is not getting it done,” Raptors guard Norman Powell said, per Sportsnet.
Guard Fred VanVleet said many options are on the table.
“We knew coming here or not coming here was not going to stop anything, but I think ultimately playing or not playing puts pressure on somebody,” VanVleet said.
“At the end of the day, if we’re gonna sit here and talk about making change, then at some point we’re gonna have to put our (manhood) on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility.
“I’m just over the media aspect of it. It’s sensationalised, we talk about it everyday, that’s all we see, but it just feels like a big pacifier to me.”
Video shows Blake, trying to get into his van, with an officer pulling Blake’s white T-shirt, then firing several shots at close range into his back. Blake’s father, also named Jacob Blake, told ABC News that he was told his son is paralysed from the waist down after being shot eight times.
“We’re the ones always with the microphones in our face,” VanVleet said.
“We’re the ones always who have to make a stand. But, like, we’re the oppressed ones, and the responsibility falls on us to make a change to stop being oppressed, you know what I’m saying?
“Do we actually give an (expletive) about what’s going on, or is it just cool to wear ‘Black Lives Matter’ on the backdrop, or wear a T-shirt? Like, what does that really mean? Is it really doing anything?”
Game 1 of the Raptors-Celtics Eastern Conference semi-finals is scheduled to tip off Thursday night in Orlando.