The Celtics and Heat briefly left the field ahead of their Wednesday night game in response to tumultuous racial and political events in the United States this week. When they later returned to the floor to play the contest, they released a statement describing their emotions and knelt for the national anthem.
On Tuesday, the attorney for Kenosha, Wisconsin, decided not to file a complaint against the police officer who shot black man Jacob Blake seven times in the back in an incident that sparked widespread outrage, including from an NBA community who spoke openly the use of force by the police. On Wednesday, a crowd of supporters of Donald Trump broke into the Capitol building in response to the impending certification of the 2020 presidential election results.
The Boston and Miami players suggested in their statement that pro-Trump protesters this year were “treated differently” based on their political affiliation compared to those who took to the streets in response to racial injustice. ‘last summer. Players from both teams knelt before the game while the national anthem was played.
MORE: LeBron James plans to join the WNBA team
“We decided to play tonight’s game to try and bring some joy to people’s lives,” the Celtics and Heat’s statement read. “But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do all we can to work for a more equitable and just America.”
Basketball has been at the forefront of social activism in recent times, sometimes providing a role model for other American sports to follow. Last summer, for example, the NBA and WNBA halted operations to protest police forces against black people. The MLB, MLS and NHL made the same choice soon after.
Celtics goalie Jaylen Brown has been among the most outspoken players in the NBA, spending a lot of time in Atlanta lead demonstrations last May, following the police murder of George Floyd.
About an hour after the Celtics and Heat took a knee for the national anthem, the Suns and Raptors blocked arms for the anthem, and the Bucks and Pistons took a knee after the opening prediction for their match.