In the hours following the not guilty verdict in Kyle Rittenhouse’s Kenosha homicide trial, NBA players and head coaches responded on social media and in pre-game press conferences.
It was no different at the Fiserv Forum, when Milwaukee Bucks head coach Mike Budenholzer said before his team played against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night: Fighting for social justice, for the better, but at the same time having to abide by the jury, the decision and the verdict and keep fighting for the best. “
Budenholzer was planning to have a discussion with the team before the game given the interweaving of the Rittenhouse trial with the Kenosha police shootout against Jacob Blake, and that conversation did take place.
“We talked about it a bit as a team,” Khris Middleton said after the game. âFor me, it was really disappointing, but at the same time, it wasn’t really surprising about the verdict. I watched it a bit, I was able to follow, but it’s something that I think we’ve all seen time and time again.
The Bucks have been synonymous with the August 23, 2020 shootout against Blake, as the team went on a wildcat strike on August 26 during the playoff “bubble” to protest police brutality and social injustice.
Rittenhouse shot dead three people, killing two of them, during the August 25 protests.
When the Kenosha District Attorney decided not to press charges against Kenosha Constable Rusten Sheskey on January 7, 2020, the Bucks and Detroit Pistons offered their support to the Blake family by kneeling in the field for seven seconds.
In this case, the Bucks players said it was important to communicate with the Pistons and include them in their demo plans. In Florida, the Orlando Magic were on the court and ready to play when the Bucks opted to stay in the locker room and wildcat strike.
President Joe Biden took a moment to recognize the team’s efforts for social justice change when the team visited the White House on November 8.
âLast year, as a team, you took a stand for justice and peace following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin,â the president said during his speech. âAnd you engaged the people – no, that was really important – because I remember calling your coach. You have committed people; in the vote, in the political process.
Brook Lopez subsequently credited George Hill for his voice and leadership.
âThinking back to that day in the bubble where George did what he did, the position he took, how he just stopped the whole world – not just the world of sports – it was amazing, âLopez said in Washington. âObviously winning a championship was important for our team. That was again our goal, but being able to come here and talk to the policy makers, who can help make this change, and talk to them about what we can do too is great Just make those connections, create those relationships and help move it all along.