Protesters joined hands to block entry into the Golden 1 Center prior to Thursday night's game between the Sacramento Kings and Atlanta Hawks. Due to safety concerns, the Kings issued a public statement, asking fans who were still outside of the arena to return home and wait for refund information.

The protest was held in lieu of Stephon Clark's recent death. Clark was a 22-year-old who was killed in his grandmother's backyard after a foot pursuit. Sadly, it seems as though the police mistook his cell phone for a gun, though all of the details on this case have not been released.

Via USA TODAY Sports:

“The protesters also rallied outside city hall and the Sacramento Police Station earlier in the day, leading to a march that eventually shut down I-5 at the height of rush hour. Some continued on to Golden 1 Center.”

The start of Thursday night's game was delayed due to the protests (7:23 p.m. tip). The arena's doors were locked, but some fans still managed to get inside. The Kings later released an official statement.

“Tonight's game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund.”

Kings owner Vivek Ranadivé offered a heartfelt statement following Thursday's game.

“Good evening, all. Thank you for you patience tonight,” Ranadive said during his statement. “On Sunday, we had a horrific tragedy in our community. And on behalf of the players, the executives, ownership and the entire Kings family, I first of all wanted to express our deepest sympathies to the families. What happened was absolutely horrific, and we are so very sorry for your loss.

“I also wanted to say that we at the Kings recognize your right to protest peacefully, and we respect that,” Ranadive continued. “We here at the Kings recognize that we have a big platform. It's a privilege, but it's also a responsibility. It's a responsibility that we take very seriously. And we stand here before you — old, young, black, white, brown — and we are all united in our commitment.

“We recognize that it's not just business as usual,” Ranadive said in closing. “We are going to work really hard to bring everybody together to make the world a better place, starting with our own community. And we're going to work really hard to prevent this kind of tragedy from happening again. Thank you all for your patience and have a good night.”

The Kings — now the fourth-ranked team in the Pacific Division standings with a 24-49 overall record — will be back in action on Sunday, as they're scheduled to host the Boston Celtics at 6:00 p.m. EST.