It’s A New Game: NBA Players Finally Take a Stand

First, I have to remind everyone that police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankinson and Myles Cosgrove still haven’t been charged for murdering Breonna Taylor. We say her name.

All summer 2020, we marched and chanted and disrupted for Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, always knowing in the back of our minds that it was only a matter of time until another instance of excessive police brutality occurred.

On August 23, 2020, it happened to Jacob Blake, who witnesses say broke up a fight as police in Kenosha, Wisconsin arrived. Blake was shot from behind seven times by officers as he tried to enter his vehicle, where his children were in the backseat. Although he did not die he will probably be paralyzed for the remainder of his life and his children will undoubtedly forever be traumatized.

With that in mind, Wednesday, August 26, 2020 was a major turning point in the modern movement for Black justice and the battle against police brutality. 

On this date, the National Basketball Association (NBA) came to its knees (literally) due to players finally taking a stand for Black lives during the Playoffs.

Better late than never, I guess…

It’s kind of ironic. NFL player Colin Kaepernick started a peaceful protest due to police brutality in 2016. Initially, he sat during the national anthem and then he later decided to take a knee in protest of repeated incidents of brutality at the hands of law enforcement. Kaepernick started this movement as a lone wolf. All the while I hoped that other star athletes in different arenas would use their clout to protest, however it never happened in a major way. 

Again, I mention that Kaep protested in the most peaceful way possible yet it wasn’t good enough for many pea-brained, racist bamas and a few coons out there.

As a result, Colin Kaepernick was blackballed and ostracized. I’ll never understand why because:

  1. Lots of cops be fucking up. Where are the “good cops” when stuff like this happens?
  2. Our current national anthem is mad outdated and nobody knows 75% of it. I vote for the “International Playas Anthem” by UGK and Outkast as the replacement, but I digress.

Early in the afternoon of August 26 we got word that the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

Then Lebron James, the greatest player in the world posted a tweet and I knew something major was on the way.

We all know that when Lebron speaks, the money follows and shortly after his tweet it was announced that all teams in the Playoffs would be “taking a knee”.

It’s about time.

The NBA is 81% Black yet in a league made up of 30 teams, there are only three owners of color and former player NBA star Michael Jordan is the only Black majority owner. Talk about an inequitable system, that’s another story though.

History has shown us time and time again that the quickest way for Black folks to attain justice isn’t to demanded it for the simple sake of humanity. We always have to hit white folks in their pockets for them to make changes.

Green seems to be the only color that they truly understand.

While I personally hate that star athletes didn’t rally behind Colin Kaepernick in his moment of greatest need, the moment when he put it all on the line for US, I am glad that they have decided to take an organized stand (or a knee) for the injustice that continues to plague the U.S.

This time it feels very different.

It’s a new game. Let’s see who wins.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mel Clayton is a native of Pine Bluff, AR and an alumnus of the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff and the University of Arkansas-Clinton School of Public Service. He went to law school for a semester and a half at the University of Arkansas but he hated that shit.

Mel is an avid lover of music and has dedicated his life to sharing authentic Black stories and experiences through his research and writing. He hopes that everyone who reads his publications will be impacted on a spiritual level. 

He lives his life according to the mantra, “Trust yourself and follow the energy.” 

Instagram: @melclayton_92 | Twitter: @melclayton_92

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