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NBA players agree to resume season, but won’t play Thursday

A Black Lives Matter banner hangs outside the arena in Lake Buena Vista, Fla., after a postponed NBA playoff game Wednesday.
(Ashley Landis / Associated Press)

NBA players have agreed to resume the postseason, although Thursday’s slate of playoff games will be postponed while the league and players continue to work out details of the restart, a person with knowledge of the decision confirmed.

The three games scheduled for Thursday, including Game 6 of the Clippers’ first-round series against Dallas, will be played at a later date.

Members of the Clippers and Lakers voted not to play the rest of the season during a players-only meeting Wednesday evening at the NBA’s Disney World campus. But as players continued to meet and talk through the following morning, their position changed. A second meeting between players Thursday morning occurred at the same time as an emergency meeting of the league’s Board of Governors.

Athletes in the NBA, WNBA, MLB, MLS, NFL, NHL and professional tennis refused to take part in scheduled events in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.

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The stoppage began Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to play Game 5 of their postseason series against Orlando. The Bucks’ arena is 40 miles north of Kenosha, Wis., where Jacob Blake was shot by police over the weekend. The shooting sparked protests against police brutality in Kenosha and quickly led players and coaches inside the NBA bubble to renew calls for racial justice.

After the Bucks refused to leave their locker room Wednesday, players from Houston and Oklahoma City quickly decided not to play their playoff game, too. The Lakers and Trail Blazers, who were scheduled to play in Wednesday’s final game, also opted not to play.

The Lakers met as a group after last night’s players’ meeting and before this morning’s session. Their players-only gathering today lasted past 11 a.m. local time, when the meeting with all the other players was supposed to start, but joined the group shortly after.

Mike Bass, an executive vice president and spokesman for the NBA, said in a statement released Thursday that games will resume Friday or Saturday and that representatives from the owners and players groups will discuss the near future.

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“There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps,” the NBA statement said.

COVID-19 is a viral blip on the radar when it comes to systemic racism in America, which ignores warning signs, like Jacob Blake’s death, and denies it exists.

President Trump, who has been outspoken against NFL players kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against social injustice, was asked about the NBA work stoppage Thursday.

“I don’t know much about the NBA protest,” Trump said. “I know their ratings have been very bad because I think people are a little tired of the NBA, frankly. ... They’ve become like a political organization and that’s not a good thing.”

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By mid-afternoon Thursday, the WNBA and MLS announced it would postpone a second night of games while the NHL decided to postpone the Stanley Cup playoff games scheduled to be played Thursday and Friday following a request from a group of Black players.

The Oakland A’s have decided not to play their series finale at Texas a day after the Dodgers, Seattle Mariners and Milwaukee Brewers chose not to play their games. The A’s-Rangers game postponement is among five MLB games that will not be played Thursday, along with Philadelphia at Washington, Minnesota at Detroit, Colorado at Arizona and Boston at the Blue Jays in Buffalo, N.Y. Other games were played as scheduled, although some players on teams will sit out in protest.

Staff writer Tania Ganguli and Associated Press contributed to this report.


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