NBA strike against racism: more than symbolic?
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to boycott a game in the National Baskeball Association's (NBA) playoff series. Now other teams and athletes from other sports are joining the strike in protest against racism and police brutality. The strike comes after Jacob Blake, an African American, was shot seven times in the back by a police officer in the state of Wisconsin on the weekend.
Just carrying on as usual will never bring change
The Berliner Zeitung is impressed by the determination of the athletes rallying around basketball star LeBron James:
“Particularly in this important election year, he and the other NBA players could have a decisive impact and prevent Donald Trump from being re-elected. A boycott of the other playoff games would be tantamount to stepping out of the race for the NBA championship. But just carrying on like in the past, or coming up with yet another catchy slogan isn't going to bring any changes to society. It takes more than that to assume a leading role on the political stage. It takes someone like LeBron James.”
Taking an important stand in a time of strife
La Vanguardia hopes that the strike will influence the outcome of the presidential election:
“Not only has Trump, the politician with maximum responsibility, failed to defuse the conflicts, he actually fuelled them for the sake of winning votes with his law-and-order policy. ... Things cannot stay like this and American society can no longer look away and refuse to address what is starting to turn into a latent civil war. Without doubt, the gestures of the athletes will prompt the entire country to reflect, especially now that it is so close to electing its next president.”
A fascinating spectacle
Journalist Jacek Świąder was thrilled by what was shown on TV instead of the games. He writes in Polityka:
“Instead of sports coverage I watched a fascinating spectacle: commentators and NBA experts talking with passion, empathy and knowledge about racism in the US. Basketball players of different generations called in via voice and video calls to share their experiences. They repeatedly expressed their weariness and disappointment at the lack of change in the police's attitude towards black citizens. ... The basketball players are calling for voting in elections to be made easier and reforms and training for the police. ... They've made up their minds and won't back down. This is one of the most encouraging pieces of news we've had in 2020.”