Obama praises Milwaukee Bucks for boycotting their own game, urges ‘all our institutions to stand up’

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During a season that was already truncated by the COVID-19 pandemic, former President Barack Obama praised the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks for boycotting a playoff game in protest following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police.

“I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values,” Obama tweeted Wednesday.

Obama’s response included a video clip of Los Angeles Clippers coach Glenn “Doc” Rivers criticizing President Donald Trump and Republicans for talking about “fear” and adding, “we’re the ones getting killed.”

“All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear. We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones who are denied to live in certain communities,” Rivers said, in an apparent reference to blacks.

He then commented on the viral video of Blake’s encounter with Kenosha police, which led to him being shot seven times.

“That video, if you watch that video, you don’t need to be Black to be outraged. You need to be American and outraged. How dare the Republicans talk about fear? We’re the ones that need to be scared. We’re the ones having to talk to every Black child. What white father has to give his son a talk about being careful if you get pulled over?” he said.

There are actually two videos featuring Blake — the one Rivers is referencing that has gone viral, and another one shot from a different angle in the moments before Blake was shot. The second video, unearthed earlier this week, appears to show Blake tussling on the ground with at least two officers before extricating himself and walking around the front of his SUV with officers in two training their weapons on him. Ignoring their commands, Blake opens the driver’s door of his vehicle and reaches inside as an officer tried to grab him.

It is believed that officers thought he was reaching for a weapon of his own, which was seemingly confirmed when the Wisconsin DOJ announced that Jacob Blake admitted to officers that he had a knife.

On Wednesday, the Bucks refused to leave their locker room ahead of Game 5 with the Orlando Magic. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that the team had decided to boycott the game, which was a forfeiture.

“The Bucks players made this decision in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting in Wisconsin, ultimately deciding that they wouldn’t leave the locker room for the start of Game 5 against Orlando,” he tweeted.

Following “months of inaction,” the team said, it’s time for Wisconsin lawmakers to “take meaningful measures to address police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform.”

Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry said “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,” he said.

In addition, MLB’s Milwaukee Brewers canceled their game against the Cincinnati Reds Wednesday as well, in protest — a decision that was hailed by Democratic Gov. Tony Evers.

“This is my crew. Thank you, @Brewers,” Evers — who condemned the Kenosha officers immediately following the incident with Blake — tweeted.

The NFL’s Washington Football Team also canceled a team scrimmage over the incident.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating but has yet to release its findings. No charges have been filed against any of the officers who — like all Americans — are supposed to be presumed innocent until proven guilty.


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