The Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors have discussed boycotting the start of their playoff series to protest the police shooting of a Black man in Wisconsin, players have said.
Jacob Blake was shot repeatedly Sunday, apparently in the back, by police in Kenosha. His father says he was left paralyzed from the waist down. The broad daylight shooting was captured on video that spread quickly on social media.
ESPN reported Tuesday that the Raptors had held a team meeting to discuss how they would respond and has considered not playing in Game 1 against the Celtics. ESPN added that head coach Brad Stevens had said Boston had a similar team meeting.
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"People are upset, people are pissed, you know, people are fed up," Celtics guard Marcus Smart said Tuesday. "It's just sad that we have to be going through this and still fighting for something that's so obvious."
"There is an emphasis in this country on the framing of these instances as, 'Jacob Blake, well, he was a convicted felon, well, he had a history of police brutality, well, he possibly had a weapon,'" said small forward Jaylen Brown. "This framework is not unfamiliar to people of color and African-Americans, not does it constitute death or being shot seven times."
"Are we not human beings? Is Jacob Blake not a human being?" Brown continued. "I don't care if he did something 10 years ago, 10 days ago or 10 minutes ago, if he served his sentence and was released back into society, he still deserves to be treated like a human and does not deserve to be shot in the back seven times with intent to kill. His kids will never unsee that, his family will never unsee that, and frankly, I will never unsee it."
Smart said sitting out the first game of the second-round series was an option Boston had discussed.
"There's definitely been talks and chatter. Nothing's written in stone, everybody's kind of gave suggestions of what they would like. Boycotting is one of those," Smart said. "We're just trying to work to see how we can really use our voice and our platform to make more of an effort to get something done."
"In a sense, I feel very helpless. In the bubble, I feel like I want to do more. I feel like I should be out there protesting," Brown added.