NBA gameplay to resume Saturday after Jacob Blake protests

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Friday, August 28, 2020
Wednesday NBA playoff games postponed amid Jacob Blake shooting boycotts
Players had been discussing boycotting games after the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The NBA will resume gameplay Saturday after players protested the playoffs in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the league announced Friday.

"We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA players, coaches and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality. Among others, the attendees included player and team representatives of all 13 teams in Orlando," NBPA Executive Director Michele Roberts and NBA Commissioner Adam Silver said in a statement released Friday.

This is a breaking news update. A previous version of this report is below.

The NBA's players have decided to resume the playoffs, source tells ESPN, though three playoff games scheduled for Thursday will be postponed along with contests in three other sports.

Players held a meeting at 11 a.m. and continue to have discussions about the timing of resuming the playoffs, with an expectation that a Saturday return of games will be finalized later Thursday.

In the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Milwaukee Bucks led a protest Wednesday that resulted a postponement of all games that day and expanded to other sports.

Related: Basketball, baseball, soccer games postponed amid protests over Jacob Blake shooting

The NHL will not play any playoff games Thursday in solidarity with the other leagues, sources told ESPN, with the decision postponing games between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers and the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks.

Sources had told ESPN that the NHL and NHL Players' Association had been in communication over the past 24 hours, but that the league would not initiate a stoppage unless there was a strong push from the players' side.

The NHLPA had set a conference call with players Thursday afternoon to get an idea of where they stand.

Earlier Thursday, Hockey Diversity Alliance co-leader Evander Kane put out a formal request from the group for the NHL to suspend all playoff games on Thursday, tweeting, "We strongly feel this sends a clear message that human rights take priority over sports."

The Texas Rangers and Oakland Athletics game scheduled for Thursday is going to be postponed, sources tell ESPN. Additionally, there were reports that the Phillies and Nationals will not play, and the Red Sox will be having a meeting to determine whether they're playing Toronto.

Three WNBA games scheduled for Thursday night have also been postponed, the league announced.

It wasn't made certain when the league would resume play, but WNBA executive committee president Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks indicated it could be Friday.

The Bucks are led by the NBA's reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, one of the league's biggest stars and an All-Star game captain who just Tuesday was named the NBA's Defensive Player of the Year.

Back in July, Bucks player Sterling Brown spoke out regarding his incident with law enforcement in December 2018. He said he was going into Walgreens and parked on two handicap parking spots, and when going back to his car, Brown said law enforcement approached him, asked for his license and shoved him before he was able to show his license.

Brown added that the officer called for backup and six more police cars came. He said multiple officers started punching and kneeing on him in an attempt to take him to the ground, with one of the cops using his Taser. He also said that once on the ground, officers put a knee into his neck and stood on his ankle.

After footage from the officer's body-worn camera was released, the city of Milwaukee offered Brown a $400,000 settlement, which he declined.

"Some things are bigger than basketball," Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry tweeted. "The stand taken today by the players and (the organization) shows that we're fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I'm incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change."

Wednesday's boycott happened on the fourth anniversary of Colin Kaepernick's very first protest during the national anthem before an NFL preseason game.

"It's amazing to me why we keep loving this country and this country does not love us back," Clippers coach Doc Rivers made emotional comments about racial justice and the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

Multiple players who weren't scheduled to play, including Kevin Love of the Cleveland Cavaliers, Donovan Mitchell of the Utah Jazz, and Jamal Murray of the Denver Nuggets, voiced their support of the decision.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.