After holding a meeting Thursday morning, NBA players have reportedly agreed to resuming the 2020 playoffs, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The three playoff games on Thursday are expected to be postponed, and discussions are underway on when games will be resumed. The meeting came after the postponement of three playoff games on Wednesday, including the Bucks-Magic game in which Milwaukee players staged a walk-out before the start of Game 5. The league’s Board of Governors were also expected to have a call this morning to address Wednesday night’s walkouts in addition to what needs to happen next.
Several leaders on the Lakers roster, along with some players from other teams, reportedly stayed up into the early morning hours to hash out their issues inside the bubble. As a result of those talks, all players were able to agree to resume the season, per Wojnarowski.
During a meeting Wednesday evening that consisted of players and coaches, the Lakers and Clippers were among the minority of teams that pushed to end the season, according to Sham Charania of The Athletic. LeBron James said in the meeting he wants the team owners to be more involved and take action.
Milwaukee’s walk-out ahead of Game 5 against the Magic came in response to the shooting of an unarmed Black man named Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. Shortly after the Bucks made a statement by not playing, the Rockets and Thunder decided to also not play Wednesday, as well as the Lakers and Trail Blazers.
Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan released the following joint statement:
“We fully support our players and the decision they made. Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them. The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.”
Many NBA players and coaches have spoken with heavy hearts since the shooting of Blake, and earlier Wednesday the Toronto Raptors discussed the possibility of sitting out Game 1 of their second-round matchup against the Boston Celtics Thursday.
Coaches like Doc Rivers have given emotional statements in response to the shooting of Blake, stating poignantly, “we keep loving this country and this country doesn’t love us back.” Raptors guard Fred VanVleet told media on Tuesday that in order to bring change, players would have to “put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility.” By sitting out games, that certainly makes a statement that the players are sick and tired of nothing changing in regard to police brutality against Black people in this country.