Barack Obama Commends Bucks for Activism After Police Shooting of Jacob Blake

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistAugust 27, 2020

In this image from video, former President Barack Obama speaks during the third night of the Democratic National Convention on Wednesday, Aug. 19, 2020. (Democratic National Convention via AP)
Uncredited/Associated Press

Former President Barack Obama praised the Milwaukee Bucks for their decision to sit out Wednesday's playoff game against the Orlando Magic and offered his support for those in the NBA and WNBA who are using their platform to fight against systemic racism and police brutality.

Obama tweeted out the message with a video of Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers' emotional statement about the police shooting of Jacob Blake and more following his team's win Tuesday:

Barack Obama @BarackObama

I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values. https://t.co/rUGETgAt7P

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported the Bucks decided to sit out the game in the wake of the police shooting of Blake, and the NBA eventually announced Wednesday's three playoff games were postponed.

The WNBA also announced the three scheduled Wednesday games in its league were postponed.

After deciding not to play, the Bucks players released a statement demanding justice for Blake.

Milwaukee Bucks @Bucks

Full statement from the Milwaukee Bucks: https://t.co/jjGEyVcCmB

Guards George Hill and Sterling Brown read the following statement:

"The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings. Over the last few days, in our home state of Wisconsin, we've seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha and the additional shooting of protesters. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.

"When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold each other to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement. We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand for the officers to be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin state legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action and remember to vote on Nov. 3."

Wojnarowski reported there is "sentiment" within the Bucks that they still want to continue playing in the bubble. Wojnarowski also reported the NBA scheduled a Board of Governors meeting for Thursday.

Obama was not the only politician to offer support to those athletes who made decisions not to play Wednesday. 

Senator Bernie Sanders did the same and also praised the players and teams who didn't take the field in Major League Baseball:

Bernie Sanders @BernieSanders

I strongly support the NBA, WNBA and MLB players who are striking for racial justice. Real change takes place when people come together and demand it. It is time for the police who shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back to be fired, arrested and prosecuted. Now.

Police shot Blake in the back multiple times when he was near a car that attorney Benjamin Crump said was carrying Blake's three sons.

The shooting led to protests, and Gina Barton, Cary Spivak and Bruce Vielmetti of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported Kyle Rittenhouse—who considered himself part of a militia—was arrested and charged with shooting three people, two of whom died, during the protest.