The NBA may have continued its season in what is called a bubble but the players have shown that they don’t live in a bubble.
In what I think is a first in pro sports history, the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic, resulting in the cancellation of the games scheduled for the day. They call it a boycott, but I think it is more apt to call it a strike as some have pointed out.
You boycott something you would have spent for; these are NBA players refusing to do their jobs to convey a message.
But semantics aside, this is still a first. Sure, there have been similar actions in the past in the NBA and in baseball or threats of similar actions but it was always for what the players want and as some sportswriters have derided such moves--a battle between the millionaire players and the billionaire owners.
This isn’t such a battle as the players aren’t fighting for additional percentage in the TV broadcast pie or whatever profit that is. They are fighting for their community.
Before they became rich and famous in their early 20s, they were ordinary African-Americans in their childhood, the same guys whose voices they are lending now by their actions.
And I applaud them for it.
Such a move, of course, is unthinkable in a country like ours because while we have our own social issues, I don’t think we have the same issues the NBA players face that affect our athletes—the basketball stars especially. I mean, it would be different if majority of our PBA players were lumads and studied in schools that are being bombed. Or say, majority of the players are Bisayas and Bisayas are being shot by cops just because they don’t speak Tagalog fluently when stopped.
I don’t know what will happen to the rest of the NBA season now but it would be interesting to know what the team owners would do.
As to whether the actions of the players are effective, well if fans outside of the US are googling Jacob Blake, then it has helped their cause to spread the message, right?
For years, we have placed sports stars in a bubble and expected a certain behavior from them. It is good that at a time when it is needed most, the stars broke that bubble.