NBA players agree to resume playoff games this weekend following protest

Sports

An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. (NewsNation) — NBA playoff games will resume either Friday or Saturday, NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass said in a statement Thursday.

“There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps,” Bass wrote.

The news comes one day after three postseason games were postponed in a protest of racial injustice.

Three NBA playoff games were scheduled for Thursday night, but they have been postponed. Including the three missed games Wednesday, six playoff games total will need to be made up.

The player protests started with the Milwaukee Bucks, who refused to take the court for their game Wednesday against the Orlando Magic. Players from six teams made the decisions to protest the shooting by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee.

Jacob Blake, a Black man, was shot in the back while three of his children looked on.

NBA players didn’t meet with the NBA’s board of governors Thursday solely for a restart to their season. They also wanted social reform, as did other sports leagues — many of which followed the NBA’s lead Wednesday by calling off games. Some NFL teams did the same Thursday, choosing not to practice.

It followed a similar pattern as what happened in March: The NBA was the first league to shut down because of the coronavirus pandemic, and other sports followed then as well.

“The biggest thing that we all understand is if we’re not playing, what are we doing? What are we doing to show and to help what’s going on outside this bubble?” Boston Celtics forward Grant Williams said, shortly before the Bucks were scheduled to tip off their game against the Magic.

Instead, the Bucks players remained in the locker room, finally emerging hours later to read a statement demanding action from lawmakers and encouraging voting by citizens.

They changed the narrative across the entire sports landscape, putting the focus squarely on social justice reform in protest of the shooting of Blake.

While players and teams from baseball, the WNBA and MLS sat out their competitions Wednesday night. WNBA continued its protest Thursday.

The Western & Southern Open won’t be played Thursday, with the U.S. Tennis Association, along with the ATP and WTA Tours, announcing play would be paused after two-time Grand Slam women’s champion Naomi Osaka had already said she wouldn’t play her semifinal match.

“I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport I consider that a step in the right direction,” Osaka tweeted. “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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