Members of the NBA are continuing to use their platform to bring awareness to social justice issues amid a period of racial unrest.
On January 6th, Celtics players gathered for 45 minutes before their matchup against the Miami Heat to discuss their response to the Capitol Hill riots and recently-made charging verdict in the Jacob Blake shooting. The two teams then released a joint statement, announcing they would go forward with their scheduled game “to bring joy into people’s lives.”
“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 statement read.
“The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protestors who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.”
“We have decided to play tonight’s game to try to bring joy into people’s lives,” it continued. “But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America.”
As the national anthem played ahead of the basketball showdown, almost all of the players and coaches on the Heat and the Celtics took a knee, silently protesting the recent occurrences in Washington D.C. and Kenosha, Wisconsin.
As REVOLT reported, pro-Trump rioters raided the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday to block the confirmation of Joe Biden’s victory and were hit with a slap on wrap in comparison to the treatment Black protesters have received during peaceful demonstrations held for slain Black lives. The day before (Jan. 5), it was announced that Officer Rusten Sheskey — the man responsible for shooting Jacob Blake seven times in the back — would not face criminal charges.
The Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks also kneeled shortly before their Wednesday night game to bring attention to these events.
Back in August, following the horrific shooting of Blake, the Bucks led a boycott that spread across the NBA before making its way around the sports world. The basketball organization has since announced multiple plans to address police brutality and systemic racism.
The NBA has really been at the forefront fighting for social justice more so than any other sports league.