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NBPA explores next step toward potentially boycotting games

NBA Boycott

The NBA Players Association is actively working with players who are considering boycotting upcoming playoff games in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by police officers in Kenosha, WI on Sunday, sources told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

A gathering of players took place on Tuesday night at the Coronado Springs Resort to discuss the logistics of a boycott after yet another shooting of an unarmed Black American caught on tape. Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Chris Paul and Andre Iguodala of the Miami Heat—the president and vice president of the union, respectively—were in attendance to support the players.

According to Haynes, “players began reaching out to the committee in recent days, sharing that they’re not in the right frame of mind to play basketball.”

Blake, 29, was shot several times in the back in front of his young children and is currently paralyzed from the waist down.

Haynes reports that the NBA union believes its role is to educate players on “the pros and cons of boycotting games” and emphasize support either way. The players are also exploring how to more effectively speak out against racial injustice and policy brutality and ignite substantive change while in the bubble.

Fred VanVleet of the Toronto Raptors and Indiana Pacers guard George Hill have been among the players who have questioned the importance of basketball games and lamented being stuck in the bubble at this moment.

“We shouldn’t have even come to this damn place, to be honest,” Hill said on Monday. “I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are.”

VanVleet and his Raptors teammate, Normal Powell, previously acknowledged that a conversation about boycotting games had begun.

On Wednesday, ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported that the Raptors and Boston Celtics met on Tuesday night at their hotel to discuss boycotting Game 1 of the Easter Conference semifinals, scheduled for Thursday. The two sides will meet again Wednesday night.

“If we’re gonna sit here and talk about making change, then at some point we’re gonna have to put our nuts on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility. ” VanVleet said. “I’m just over the media aspect of it. It’s sensationalized, we talk about it every day, that’s all we see, but it just feels like a big pacifier to me.”