Before the tipoff between the Bucks and Magic, as reporters asked him questions about playoff basketball — which seemed meaningless at the time — Milwaukee head coach Mike Budenholzer asked if he could say something.
“I just want to send my thoughts and prayers to Jacob Blake and his family,” he said. “Another young Black man shot by a police officer. We need to change, we need to do better … I’m hoping for the best as we work through this in Wisconsin.”
Late last night, horrendous news broke showing Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man and father of six, being shot seven times by a Kenosha Police officer in broad daylight — on Blake’s son’s birthday.
Overnight, Blake’s shooting became a national story. Today, he is fighting for his life.
The sports world has not been silent on this latest example of police violence and racial injustice.
“We have a playoff game that’s very important to us, but an incident like this is more important than anything we are doing in Orlando,” Budenholzer said in his virtual press conference. “We needed to be better as a country, and have no more of these incidents, and understand that Black lives matter.”
The Jazz’s Donovan Mitchell, too, wondered about the significance of the NBA playoffs in the midst of continuing episodes of racial violence.
This afternoon LeBron James weighed in on twitter, calling for justice for Blake. “WTF is this?” He asked. “Feel so sorry for him, his family and OUR PEOPLE!!”
“How we can have hope,” Kyle Kuzma wondered, when we keep seeing the same situations replayed endlessly on our social media feeds.
One of Colin Kaepernick’s prominent NFL allies, Kenny Stills, tweeted that he was “tired of waking up to videos of people being gunned down by police.” Stills was recently in “good trouble,” for being arrested while protesting the killing of Breonna Taylor.
A’ja Wilson called the shooting “sickening” and “heartbreaking.”
Alvin Kamara, Tyrann Mathieu, Michael Thomas, and Cam Jordan also took to social media to express their profound frustration with Blake’s shooting, and with American policing at large.
Packers players and coaches alike — Green Bay is around two and a half hours north of Kenosha — spoke about the shooting after practice.
“It just keeps happening over and over again,” Green Bay head coach Matt LaFleur told reporters. “It blows my mind that we’re sitting here in 2020 and we can’t treat everybody the same. I don’t know, I’m kind of at a loss for words.”
Following practice, LaFleur reportedly created a space for team members to share their thoughts regarding Blake. Mercedes Lewis was first to share his opinions in the closed-door circle.
After the team broke for media availability, Aaron Rodgers asked, “when is lethal force necessary?”
“There are antiquated laws that are prejudicial against people of color in this country,” he continued.
NASCAR’s Bubba Wallace simply wrote “#JacobBlake.”
It’s another black man in a hashtag. And it’s a horrific trend that repeats itself all too often.