The Milwaukee Bucks are boycotting Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in response to the shooting of Kenosha, Wisconsin, resident Jacob Blake. Adrian Wojnarowski reported the news on Twitter Wednesday, minutes before the contest was supposed to start, first announcing that the Bucks players had not yet come onto the court for warmups.
Not long after reports circulated that the team was considering a “no-show,” they made it official.
The Washington Post’s Gen Golliver tweeted that Bucks General Manager Jon Horst said there would eventually be an official statement addressing the situation.
Bucks GM Jon Horst: “We’re not coming out for awhile. There will be a team statement.” Unclear if Bucks will address media regarding boycott on Wednesday.
— Ben Golliver (@BenGolliver) August 26, 2020
Confusion reigned both in the lead-up and direct aftermath to the Bucks’ decision not to take the court. The question that has been making the rounds on social media at this point is what are the repercussions.
League officials have reportedly been in contact with the team since they started making their intentions known. Some believe the NBA will reschedule the contest while others think the Bucks should have to forfeit.
NBA front office insider Bobby Marks tweeted out that there is very clear “failure to appear” language in the NBA’s rule book. In addition to losing the game, the Bucks can be fined up to $5 million.
Marks made the point that no one seems to know if Commissioner Adam Silver will impose those penalties.
There is “failure to appear” language in the Operations Manual.
– forfeiture of the game
– up to $5M fine
That doesn’t mean it will be applied in the case of Milwaukee boycotting G5.
Like everything this year, we are dealing with situations that have never happened before.
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) August 26, 2020
Not long after the boycott was confirmed, one of the players, George Hill, spoke briefly with The Undefeated’s Marc J. Spears — who posted the comment on Twitter — and explained why they decided not to play on Wednesday afternoon.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Hill said.
Hill has been vocal about what he sees as racial injustice in America. Earlier this week, in the immediate aftermath of the Blake shooting, he told the media he regretted coming to the bubble in order to participate in the playoffs while this kind of violence against Black men was going on.
Those around the team have said part of the decision to boycott Game 5 is due to the issues of police violence in the United States. Earlier this summer, guard Sterling Brown detailed his own incident with police officers.
In an article posted in The Player’s Tribune, Brown claimed the city of Milwaukee offered him $400,000 to “to be quiet” about what happened to him. He wrote that he felt like he simply could not go along with their request.
“I have a responsibility to be a voice and help change the narrative for my people,” he explained in the article.