The Milwaukee Bucks were the first team Wednesday to announce they would not play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin.
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While the Magic didn’t accept the Bucks’ forfeit, a former NBA executive noted that teams who “fail to appear” are subjected to penalties under the league’s operations manual.
Bobby Marks, a former vice president and assistant general manager for the Brooklyn Nets, tweeted that teams could forfeit their game and face up to a $5 million fine for “failure to appear.” Marks wrote that he didn’t think the Bucks would be penalized for their strike.
“Like everything this year, we are dealing with situations that have never happened before,” Marks added.
The NBA announced that two other playoff games were postponed.
“The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games – Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers – have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled,” the league announced.
NBA players’ union director Michele Roberts expressed support for the players’ support.
“Throughout the season restart, our players have been unwavering in their demands for systemic justice. This week we witnessed another horrific, shocking and all too familiar act of brutality in the shooting of 29 year-old Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Players have, once again, made it clear - they will not be silent on this issue. We stand with the decision of the players of the Milwaukee Bucks to protest this injustice and support the collective decision to postpone all of today's games,” Roberts said.
The Bucks released a joint statement after their decision sent shockwaves through the sports world.
“When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold ourselves to that standard, and in this moment, we are demanding the same from our lawmakers and law enforcement,” the joint statement read in part.
“We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin State Legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action, and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”
Some MLB games and WNBA games were also postponed in the wake of the Bucks’ decision.