Raptors Discuss Boycott Among Other Options as Celtics Series Approaches

Aaron Rose

The pain has been clear.

Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics players have been hurting for days. It's come through in their voices and on their faces as they discuss the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man in Kenosha, Wis. who was shot in the back by Kenosha police.

Just the idea of the video was too painful for Pascal Siakam to watch. He had seen what had happened to George Floyd, the unarmed Black man killed by Minneapolis police in May, and he couldn't bare the thought of watching another video like it.

"I didn't want to go through that again," Siakam said as he struggled to find the words to explain his pain.

That's why players from both the Celtics and Raptors met Tuesday night for a player's-only meeting to discuss how to move forward. At this point, they've been in the NBA Bubble for nearly two months and despite all their calls for social change, Black men continue to be shot by police.

That fact has led them to discuss the possibility of boycotting NBA games.

"I don’t think I can put a percentage on it or anything. Again it’s ongoing discussions. I think it is on the table," Raptors coach Nick Nurse said of the possibility of a boycott. "There are some other ideas that are on the table as well."

What's the point of a boycott? What message would it send?

Who knows? But at this point, players are sick of continuing to do the same thing over and over again, Norman Powell said Tuesday. They call for change during their media availabilities, they were clothes and masks demanding change, they kneel for the anthem, but nothing is working.

"There's a lot of things that we did and it just feels like it's not changing," Siakam said. "I don't know what the right thing would be to do."

So they're discussing all of the options. One of them is certainly to boycott games, but there are others. And if they do boycott games, how many remains unclear, but Nurse said some players have considered just going home.

"The players are deeply disappointed that the same thing happens again in a relatively short timeframe," Nurse said. "They want to be part of the solution, they want to help, they want justice. They want this particular problem to be handled in a much better way. That’s the first thing. Boycotting the game has come up for them as a way to try to demand a little more action. That’s really what they want. I think there’s enough attention and not quite enough action and that’s what I can sense from the discussions, is their disappointment. Like man, how can we get something to change, like now. We need something to change, not just attention on the problem. We need a plan of action."

Whatever decision is made, it's going to be a thoroughly thought out decision. These players are not jumping to conclusions, they're meeting and discussing what the best course of action is to send the message that enough is enough.

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