Report: Players Talking with NBPA About Possible Boycott of Playoff Games

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistAugust 26, 2020

Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz team members kneel during the national anthem before Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Tuesday, Aug. 25, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. (Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP)
Mike Erhmann/Associated Press

Some NBA players are discussing the possibility of boycotting games after the shooting of Jacob Blake with the National Basketball Players Association's executive committee, according to Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes:

"An assembly, organized by players who are emotionally traumatized by the latest police-involved shooting of an African American that was captured on video, was held Tuesday night at Disney's Coronado Springs Resort, sources said, and there were multiple conversations about what actions could be taken throughout the day."

Some players have reached out to the executive committee to say they aren't "in the right frame of mind to play basketball," Haynes reported.

The Undefeated's Marc J. Spears reported members of the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors met to discuss a potential boycott of their opening game of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Thursday:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

The Celtics and Raptors players are expected to meet again tonight, a source said.

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Feeling after meeting last night was the majority of the Raptors and Celtics players wanted to play in Game 1 after a meeting in the players’ lounge at the Grand Destino Hotel, source told @TheUndefeated. Both teams expected to meet again tonight and discuss options.

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse confirmed players met Tuesday night and said a boycott is "on the table." 

"There are still issues on the table here that they are working through," he added.

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Raptors head coach Nick Nurse says he has heard a couple of players talk about going home.

Police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, arrived at a reported domestic disturbance Sunday. A video showed Blake walking to the driver's side door of a gray SUV with two officers following him with their guns drawn. One officer grabbed the back of Blake's tank top before firing multiple times into his back at close range.

Ben Crump, an attorney representing Blake's family, said Blake was originally at the scene to break up a fight between two women.

Blake survived, but his family said he's paralyzed from the waist down and has internal organ damage, per the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel's Ashley Luthern.

While the NBA has emphasized social justice causes since restarting the 2019-20 season, Sports Illustrated's Chris Mannix reported in June some players were worried the return of games would take focus away from the nationwide protests against police brutality and systemic racism.

Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill brought that topic up with reporters Monday, per Spears:

Marc J. Spears @MarcJSpears

Bucks guard George Hill speaks strongly about the cop shooting of African-American Jacob Blake in Milwaukee and questioned whether NBA teams should have come to the “bubble” in the midst of the social justice movement. https://t.co/Z12YtI5Iep

Raptors guard Fred VanVleet told reporters Tuesday he had wondered whether a boycott might be necessary to force more significant remedies for issues of social justice.

According to Haynes, the union indicated to its members that it would support any players who boycotted games.