Toronto Raptors' Thursday game likely won't be played: report

Aug 27 2020, 6:47 am

Thursday’s NBA games, including the Toronto Raptors’ playoffs opener against the Celtics, are “unlikely” to proceed amid player protest of anti-Black racism following the shooting of Jacob Blake in the US.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, discussions regarding the status of the NBA are continuing on Thursday, but the three scheduled playoff games probably won’t proceed.

At this time, no official decision has been made.

On Wednesday, Milwaukee Bucks players refused to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry announced on Twitter. “The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

The Bucks were the first team to boycott a game, and the other two games on the schedule on Wednesday — Rockets vs Thunder and Lakers vs Trail Blazers — were also cancelled.

“The NBA and the NBPA 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 – MIL-ORL, HOU-OKC and LAL-POR have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled,” said the NBA last night.

Earlier this week, while speaking with the media, Raptors players Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell expressed their frustration following the police shooting of Blake, an unarmed Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Blake was shot multiple times by police in front of his three sons and has been left paralyzed.

“I was pretty excited (about the series) and then we all had to watch Jacob Blake get shot yesterday,” said VanVleet. “That kind of changes the tone of things and puts things in perspective.”

Though the Raptors and the NBA as a whole have done a lot to raise awareness of the Black Lives Matter movement, wearing social justice messages on the back of their jerseys and kneeling during the national anthem, VanVleet and Powell said more needs to be done.

Powell confirmed that there’s been talk of potentially boycotting games.

“I think it’s being talked about,” Powell said. “There’s a lot of things that are being talked about and how to approach this sensitive issue. I think everybody’s at the point of sitting up and saying ‘Black Lives Matter’ and sitting up there and having these discussions and Zoom calls… and putting apparel on — that’s not getting the job done. Taking a knee for the anthem, that’s not getting the job done. It’s starting to get washed out.

“I feel like Black Lives Matter is just another thing in conversation now. Because we see it so much. It’s everywhere. Now it’s just in daily conversation. It’s kind of getting to the point where you’re not really noticing it… Something has to happen to where you’re forcing those people who can affect and make the change to do something.

“It’s on all of us to actually stand up and demand things. And get in front of these people’s faces that make the laws and have the power to fully effect change and force them to. Until that is done, ain’t shit gonna change.”

The Toronto Raptors game is currently scheduled for 6:30 pm ET.

With files from Rob Williams

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