Giannis Antetokounmpo said the Bucks had collectively decided to take the knee in protest of the Milwaukee courts not charging Jacob Blake’s shooter.
The verdict for the indictment of Rusten Sheskey, the police officer who shot Jacob Blake 7 times in the back, did not sit well with the NBA community. The likes of LeBron James, among others, tweeted their dissent at the legal process. They lamented how a black man cannot expect a fair trial even today.
The Bucks had started off a chain reaction in the NBA bubble by sitting out a playoff game. Opponents Orlando Magic refused to accept a walkover, instead leaving the premises themselves. This led to a league-wide boycott, prompting the WNBA, MLB and NHL to also do the same.
All of the above happened in the wake of the Jacob Blake shootings. The league agreed to fund a lobby group to fight against systemic racism and for social justice.
Giannis Antetokounmpo explains why the Bucks took the knee against the Detroit Pistons
Speaking to Eric Nehm of The Athletic, Giannis Antetokounmpo explained why his team took such a stance:
“Me personally, obviously it happened in Milwaukee, in our city, in our state. Obviously, if it happened somewhere else, we’d pay attention to it and pay our respects. But at the end of the day, this happened in our home. No matter what happens, I personally feel we should not let the family down.”
“We should use our platform. We should speak out. We should do what we do. He’s been watching the games and he’s been enjoying the games, so we decided that’s out of the window.”
After the game, I asked @Giannis_An34 why he felt it was important for the team to once again do something for Jacob Blake before the game.
“We felt like we should do something because this happened in our city.” pic.twitter.com/86g0nTHyWt
— Eric Nehm (@eric_nehm) January 7, 2021
He added how he wanted his son to feel safe as a black person in the USA as he grows up.
“My kid is going to grow up here in America and my kid is Black. I cannot imagine my kid going through what I see on TV.”
Giannis on being Black in America pic.twitter.com/Rjq1sDX971
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 7, 2021