Column

Why the Bucks' unannouced boycott mattered

Column
USA Today

I am fully aware that my career of choice depends on the resumption of sports. I am aware that if I want to continue to work in sports media the games must go on.

But I also acknowledge that when something bigger is trying to be achieved, my well being becomes less important in the grand scheme of things.

When the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of their first-round match up in the playoffs, I knew it was the right decision. The Bucks refused to play to stop the professional sports money machine to make everyone aware that the United States is still plagued by a disease not named COVID-19.

When the NBA announced its return to play plan for July 30 after putting the season on hiatus since March 11, I was skeptical. After the murder of George Floyd in Minnesota it seemed like social justice was moving at a rapid pace and it felt like change was coming in a way we hadn’t seen in a while. Due to the pandemic, the disease of racism was being uncovered and opening people’s eyes mainly because there were no distractions.

No sports. No movies. No nights out with friends.

I knew what sports resuming would bring.

You hope as a society, we could be able to do multiple things at once. Of course I want sports back, it’s my job. It’s what I love. But not at the expense of creating change that could help future generations.

 

Sports are a distraction from the real world. A two-hour moment in time and space where nothing else matters. But at this moment something matters more than our entertainment. Once sports returned the movement went to the back burner and the machine churned.

And it happened again.

Another Black man was shot in the back seven times from point blank range in front of his children. His name is Jacob Blake.

I can’t describe to you the hurt, disappointment, and overall lowliness I felt in  that moment. With each shot everything the NBA was doing, everything the news covered in terms of protests, every speech made on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised Black people, and other racial minorities, of America felt insignificant.

History was proven right again after so much effort to change it.

This certainly hit home with the Bucks last Wednesday. They refused to go on the court in a playoff series and it sent shock waves across America. It was unplanned and subject to scrutiny from players on other teams, but it had to be done. The money machine needed to be stopped because it’s the only way everyone will listen.

It was reported that during their boycott they got the Bucks owners involved as they called the Wisconsin state house and by night, the Governor was calling for a special vote on a police reform bill, as reported by Jared Weiss of The Athletic.

Games needed to stop. Entertainment needed to stop. Distractions needed to stop. It was needed so actual change could occur.

The Bucks took a stand to put pressure on law makers and it’s being under-reported the team got something tangible done.

As of right now, the Bucks helped bring about a vote on a proposed bill that outlines rules of engagement for police officers, while providing protections to whistle blowers who see their fellow officers involved in bad policing.

Senate majority leader (R) Scott Fitzgerald is trying to stop a vote and shut the bill down, which is baffling considering everything in the bill is as simple and streamlined as it can be.

It only speaks to the fight we are up against.

On Saturday, games returned, and sports resumed. If we still haven’t learned our lesson and continue to expect sports to be an escape from real world issues, more drastic measures will be taken.

Your favorite Black athletes may not be on television until bills like the one proposed in Wisconsin are put into law.

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