After deciding to boycott Game 5 of their first-round series against the Orlando Magic, the Milwaukee Bucks players made a joint statement in front of media on Thursday (IST).
Bucks' players Sterling Brown and George Hill read the statement to media members. The team did not take questions and proceeded to leave the arena shortly thereafter.
Full statement from the Milwaukee Bucks: pic.twitter.com/jjGEyVcCmB- Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020
"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," the statement read.
"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 protestors. 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 ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement.
"We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers 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."
Milwaukee players never took to the court before Game 5 for warmups. The game was later postponed as were the other two games scheduled to take place on Thursday.
Bucks ownership made a statement on Thursday in support of the boycott.
"We fully support our players and the decision they made," the Bucks ownership group said in a release. "Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them.
"The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change."
Milwaukee became the first NBA team to boycott a playoff game to protest social injustice.
More to come on this developing story.