NBA Players Enact Apparent Wildcat Strike, Postpone Playoff Games

  • The Milwaukee Bucks did not go on the court for their game against the Orlando Magic.
  • The Bucks are protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by the Kenosha, WI police.
  • The strike soon spread to other teams, and now all of Wednesday’s games are postponed.

ORLANDO, Fla. - The rumblings began Tuesday night, as Boston Celtics players met with Toronto Raptors players in order to discuss not playing in their upcoming playoff game in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake seven times in the back by the police in Kenosha, WI.

Wednesday, the turmoil came to a head for the NBA, as the Milwaukee Bucks refused to go on the court for their game against the Orlando Magic.

It soon became clear that this movement looked more like a wildcat strike more than it did a simple boycott - the Bucks, without any apparent permission from the NBPA, were refusing to provide their labor in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The Magic, in turn, left the court and refused to accept any forfeit by the Bucks, who were, at this point, in the locker room attempting to contact the Attorney General of the state of Wisconsin.

The hits kept coming.

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Eventually, it became clear that the NBA players, whether by organized action or due to the spur of the moment inspiration from the Bucks, were engaging in a strike.

The league itself was blindsided by this, according to Adrian Wojnarowski, although it is not wholly unsurprising in the context of what the league has done - there’s a bit of history here with priorities from the league and the players being in different places with regards to social justice.

Some factions of players, entering the bubble, were worried that the NBA would distract from the protests ongoing in the country following the death of George Floyd after a police officer put a knee on his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds.

Kyrie Irving, notably, encouraged players to consider sitting the season out in protest.

The NBA’s most visible response appears to have been to paint Black Lives Matter on the court, and to allow the players to wear pre-approved social justice slogans on their jerseys.

It seems apparent that the two sides took the issue at differing levels of seriousness - to the players, this was a question that was about the lives of their communities, and to the league, it was a question of what they had to do to get the players on the floor.

Now, those tensions have bubbled up, and the season is once again under threat, although this time, not from COVID-19.

Per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, there will be a meeting at 8:00 p.m. in the NBA Bubble, to which all players are invited. That meeting could determine the fate of this NBA season.

The strike has even begun to spread to other sports, including MLB, where the Reds and Brewers game was canceled, and more may be on the horizon.