The Milwaukee Bucks and Detroit Pistons united in protest at the start of Wednesday night's game in Milwaukee, with each team taking a knee on the court immediately following the opening tip. The Bucks won the tip and then kneeled before throwing the ball out of bounds, and the Pistons returned the gesture on the following possession.
The demonstration comes on the same day that a violent breach of the U.S. Capitol in Washington D.C. took place. The attack was led by supporters of President Trump attempting to disrupt Congress members as they met to formally count the electors who will make Joe Biden president on Jan. 20.
A day earlier, a Wisconsin prosecutor declined to file charges against a police officer who shot Jacob Blake. The shooting drew league-wide response from players, and particularly from the Bucks organization.
Ahead of Wednesday's game, Bucks center Brook Lopez was asked whether the Blake decision caused the team to feel that its past advocacy had been for naught.
“It’s obviously disappointing, very disheartening,” Lopez said, per Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I think it’s an incorrect decision. I don’t think everything we did as an organization…was in vain at all. I think that would be the wrong lesson to take from this. We want to take all the momentum we’ve gained up until this point and continue to push forward for reform and for change because as you can see, there’s still a long way to go. And even as outspoken as we were, as united as we were and are, we have a ways to go, but obviously, together, we can get there. It’s going to take a lot of work, but we can get there.”
Speaking on the incident at the Capitol, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer described viewing the events as "very frustrating," per Stephen Watson of WISN 12 News.
"It’s very, very unfortunate, very frustrating,” Budenholzer said before the game. “Like a lot of things in our country, I guess we’re hoping for a lot better today, tonight, going forward. Hopefully, maybe learn and grow in some strange, difficult way from what’s obviously very problematic.”
Raptors coach Dwane Casey called the Capitol storming an "attack on our democracy first, and hypocrisy on top of that," according to James Edwards III of The Athletic.
"As a father and husband and human being ... to see our house, our people's house, to be stormed like that and overtaken by, whoever that was, I don't know who that is, it's dangerous and a huge attack on our democracy," Casey said.
According to NBC's Tom Winter, "law enforcement made at least 15 arrests today in D.C. including multiple people charged for assault and 4 people for possession of a gun and possession of a large capacity ammunition feeding device."
On Tuesday, the Bucks released a statement following the Blake decision, pledging continued support in the fight for marginalized communities.
“The Bucks organization remains firmly against excessive use of force by law enforcement," the statement read. "This past year shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American and other marginalized communities…As an organization, we remain strongly committed to address issues of social injustice and anti-racism and to make meaningful change for African Americans and all marginalized members of our community.”