Michael Carter-Williams: Orlando Magic supports Milwaukee Bucks' 'emotional decision' to boycott game
LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – Orlando Magic players may have felt surprised when the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their playoff game Wednesday, but Magic guard Michael Carter-Williams said the team supported the Bucks’ stance amid efforts to protest Wisconsin police shooting Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man.
“We do stand with them,” Carter-Williams said in an interview with a Magic official that was released on their team website. “It was a quick decision they made, and it was an emotional decision. Guys in our locker room had their own personal issues with the police force in Milwaukee. It’s very heartfelt. It is in their backyard. So it is understandable the choice they made.
"Maybe it wasn’t the best choice, but it is what it is. We stand with them. Maybe it was an inconvenience at the time, but I think it’s a lot bigger than that. We do stand with them. We support them and are there for them.”
Carter-Williams said those words after the Magic had a team meeting Thursday around 12:30 pm ET. Earlier in the day, NBA players held their own meeting to reiterate their desire to resume the rest of the NBA playoffs. That marked a change from the previous evening when Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers' players said they wanted to halt the remainder of the season. Since then, the NBA announced that Thursday’s playoff games will also be postponed, including matchups between the Denver Nuggets-Utah Jazz, Boston Celtics-Toronto Raptors and Dallas Mavericks-Clippers. NBA spokesman Mike Bass added in a statement “we are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday."
No wonder Carter-Williams said “it’s been emotional the last 24 hours” deciding whether resuming the season would help or hurt the players’ efforts to address systemic racism.
“We weighed the pros and cons. We obviously agree, whether we play or not, we still have to do our best to make change,” Carter-Williams said. “We still have to do our part in the community. That’s the biggest thing.
"It wasn’t easy. It’s not easy given what is all going on. If we can go out there, do our best and also have a list of things we want to accomplish, then everything gets completed."
The NBA added another meeting will take place Thursday afternoon via video conference call, which will include a group of NBA players and owners representing the 13 remaining playoff teams, the NBA’s players association, the league office and Michael Jordan (the Hornets’ owner and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman). Then, all parties are expected to discuss what other efforts can be made with racial justice efforts.
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“It’s emotional. It’s not easy. Talking about those things are important,” Carter-Williams said. “We have a big platform we can use to make change in this country. It starts with going home to our own cities and making change there. It starts with encouraging people to vote and using our platform to talk to people with power in this country to create change.”