The NBA play-offs will resume on Saturday after the league and players’ organisation came to an agreement.
A series of major sporting fixtures in the United States have been postponed since Wednesday after NBA stars went on strike in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last week.
The players will resume the play-offs this weekend after the league agreed to requests to support social justice and racial equality.
Joint NBA and NBPA statement: pic.twitter.com/EFp6fG9oZs
— NBA (@NBA) August 28, 2020
A joint statement from the NBA and the National Basketball Players Association said: “We had a candid, impassioned and productive conversation yesterday between NBA coaches, players and team governors regarding next steps to further our collective efforts and actions in support of social justice and racial equality.
“All parties agreed to resume NBA play-off games on Saturday August 29.”
The statement outlined a commitment “to immediately establish a social justice coalition” where representatives of players, coaches and governors would look at issues including “voting, promoting civic engagement, and advocating for meaningful police and criminal justice reform.”
The league also vowed to “work with the players and our network partners to create and include advertising spots in each NBA play-off game dedicated to promoting greater civic engagement in national and local elections” as well as aiming to set up an NBA Foundation focused on “economic empowerment in the black community.”
The statement concluded: “We look forward to the resumption of the playoffs and continuing to work together – in Orlando and in all NBA team markets – to push for meaningful and sustainable change.”
MLB, MLS, NHL and the WNBA have also called games off, while some NFL teams have cancelled practice sessions as they build up to the start of the new season.
The Baltimore Ravens released a statement calling for those responsible for the shooting to be brought to justice and vowed to “drive change now”.
Statement from the Baltimore Ravens: pic.twitter.com/Q8kOzQ8qAZ
— Baltimore Ravens (@Ravens) August 27, 2020
Megan Rapinoe, one of the stars of the United States team which won the women’s football World Cup in France last year, says “everyone should be outraged” by racism.
She said in a UEFA ‘No To Racism’ campaign video: “We have such a huge platform, and from an early age on this team I realised you can have such an impact off the field even just by saying something.
“With regards to racism, all the white players should be outraged every time there’s a racist incident and a lot of times it’s just the player who’s having the incident done to them or who’s having the abuse put on them, they’re the ones that are outraged and everyone else is like, ‘OK, we need to calm this down’.
— UEFA (@UEFA) August 28, 2020
“Everyone should be outraged.”
Liverpool manager Jurgen Klopp is not expecting the protests to follow in the UK at the present time.
Klopp was asked about the matter as he held a press conference to preview the Premier League champions’ season-opening Community Shield clash against Arsenal on Saturday.
He said: “Whatever actions they take there they will have their reasons for it and I don’t see them at the moment coming in England, but we have to see.
“It is a worldwide issue but, at the moment for some specific cases, they are thinking about proper actions in America because another thing happened that shouldn’t have happened.
“That is why the players there do what they do but I don’t see it coming at the moment in England.”