Members of the Toronto Raptors spoke with the press about their plans Tuesday.
On Sunday, Kenosha, Wisconsin police shot 29-year-old Jacob Blake seven times as he attempted to get into his car with his three sons. The shooting, which paralyzed Blake from the waist down, sent shockwaves through the community, sparking protests in the city. Shortly afterward, athletes began to speak out. On Tuesday, the Toronto Raptors announced they’re considering boycotting their upcoming playoff game given the circumstances.
“We knew coming here or not coming here was not going to stop anything,” said Raptors guard Fred van Vleet. “But I think ultimately playing or not playing puts pressure on somebody. So, for example, this happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, if I’m correct? Would it be nice if, in a perfect world, we all say we’re not playing, and the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks–that’s going to trickle down. If he steps up to the plate and puts pressure on the district attorney’s office, and state’s attorney, and governors, and politicians there to make real change and get some justice.”
Fred VanVleet used his 10+ minute media call to express his frustration after the shooting of Jacob Blake. “I’m in a different place today, emotionally speaking. It’s starting to feel like everything we’re doing is just going through the motions, nothing’s changing.”
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) August 25, 2020
VanVleet: “What are we willing to give up? Do we actually give a f— about what’s going on?”
Both Fred and Norm Powell said the team met this morning and a possible boycott of games has been discussed, that the Black Lives Matter messaging, etc. is not enough.
— Josh Lewenberg (@JLew1050) August 25, 2020TRENDING VIDEOS
Van Vleet’s teammate Norman Powell added to the sentiment.
“I’m pretty sick to my stomach to have to sit up here and talk about this again,” he said. “When it comes to boycotting games, I think it’s been talked about. I think everybody is at the point of sitting up and saying ‘Black Lives Matter’…that’s not getting the job done. Taking a knee for the anthem, that’s not getting the job done. It’s starting to get washed out.”
LeBron James spoke up in a post-game interview on Monday night, expressing his concern over firearms in America. “They are not only used for sport,” he said. “For Black people right now, we think you’re hunting us…if you’re sitting here telling me that there was no way to subdue that gentleman or detain him before the firing of guns, then you’re sitting here lying not only to me, but you’re lying to every African-American, every Black person in the community.”