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  • Writer's pictureMario Nicolais

Professional athletes are Bucking the system

For the second time this year, I watched live as an NBA game made history. Hopefully the most recent will also lead to specific, meaningful changes.

In early March, I watched as the Denver Nuggets played the Dallas Mavericks in what should have been a midseason matchup. It turned out to be the last NBA game of the “regular” season. Just as the second half began, the league announced that the season would be suspended over coronavirus concerns.

The stunned, courtside reaction by Mavs owner Mark Cuban summed up what most of us felt.

Last week I flipped on the television as soon as reports surfaced that the Milwaukee Bucks decided not to take the court in their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The Bucks boycott came in reaction to the shooting of Jacob Blake.

A Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer shot Blake, a Black man, in the back seven times last Sunday.

The Bucks’ protest against racial injustice set off a domino effect across the NBA and other major league sports. For example, the following day the New York Mets and Miami Marlins took the field and stood silent for 42 seconds – in honor of Jackie Robinson, the iconic player who broke the race barrier and wore 42 – before walking off and leaving a Black Lives Matter shirt draped over home plate.

Most importantly, the Bucks made a clear and direct plea for specific legislative changes and called on the public to engage and vote.

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