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Tramel: Reader responses to Thunder walkout column

My column in the Thursday Oklahoman elicited a ton of response. Some supported the Thunder walkout. Some ripped the Thunder walkout. Some are mad at me. Some praised me. Some crossed those lines diagonally. Here are most of the emails I received, with my takes:

Bart: “I clearly agree with you regarding the massive lack of American empathy. I feel that any fool who won't watch the NBA can only be for one reason. Racism. They don't seem to realize that Black men have to wonder if they will be the next to be executed by poor policing and training. White people walk away from a traffic stop with a ticket or a warning. We have reached the point, my opinion, where White silence is complicity with the slaughter of fellow citizens. As the old saying goes, first they came for X. Nobody said anything.... This is simply one opinion of a 63-year-old White man.”

Racism is a powerful word that I don’t like to throw around in generalities. But I do think it’s silly for fans who are boycotting the NBA.

William: Your August 27th column was very thoughtful and well written. I’ve tried to understand the Black Lives Matter (BLM), but do not understand what they hope to accomplish. I used to play board games.  A game’s instructions would state the “condition of victory.”  What is BLM’s condition of victory? When can they say, ‘We’ve won!’  When will the NBA say, ‘We’re glad that’s over.  Let’s play ball!’ Please, can you ask someone to explain when they will have achieved their goal?”

I don’t think there’s a finish line. They want the police to stop killing unarmed Black men.

Jerry: “Why are pro sports teams not protesting every murder in Chicago happening on a daily basis?  The protests seem very selective.”

Because whatever is happening in Chicago is not being done by a governmental agency.

Cathy: “Good article today on the NBA.  I'm one of those that turned it off when they put Black Lives Matter on the court -- in fact we've been huge Thunder fans, owning season tickets since the Hornets. We cancelled our season tickets.  Now their boycott -- it's insane!  If the players want to make a difference then they should be telling their followers to respect authority, obey the police and do not resist arrest unless they want to be shot.  This is not racist, it’s what you must have to have a successful society.  The cases they are using to argue police brutality were all justified.  I am done with the NBA forever and if the NFL plays a ‘Black national anthem’ and/or allows players to take a knee or put statements on their uniforms, then I will not watch it either.  These actions are promoting racism and violence.  Lastly, I heard you speak last year and you mentioned the employee/employer relationship -- where are the owners?  They should fire all their ‘player’ employees that don't want to play.  Enough is enough!”

Well, the reason owners don’t fire players is because they have contracts, and the agreement with the Orlando bubble was that players could leave at any time. These are not indentured servants. As for the rest of it, read my column tomorrow.  

Joe: “You mention the undecided today, I don't think there are any left.  I believe most people here are fed up with the NBA being in bed with the Chi-coms and acting like the overpaid multi-millionaires they are, every time something doesn't go their way.  Many of us have been very proud of the Thunder for OKC's sake but I think the teams are overplaying their hand on the race issue.  At least you're not as radical as Jenny.”

Joe, you’re watching too much Fox News.

Bill: “ I want to thank you for your article this morning. You no doubt will get all kinds of responses, but I wanted to make sure you got mine. I deeply appreciated what you said and the way you said. It moved the issue far beyond politics and the reactions to what it means to be a human being. The same was true for Jenni Carlson’s article as well. I have been asking whether or not we should continue with The Oklahoman, given it’s history. But, your article and Jenni’s article, especially together, on the same day, in the sports section, no less, has convinced us to keep taking the paper. We need more of this to move to action and I hope the paper as a whole takes your lead and becomes the newspaper we have needed for a long time.”

I don’t know what I wrote that was so groundbreaking. Just try to show some empathy.

Elizabeth: “I had this thought after watching reports about athletes, specifically the NBA, canceling their games. As a 53-year-old, I (like I think many others) made fun of the younger generation for receiving ‘participation’ trophies. I thought they needed to learn that you don’t always win and get what you want. Well, they may have learned exactly that and so they won’t stop their activism until they do get what they want; fairness, equality, justice. These are not things they want but things they expect (and deserve, for that matter).”

Interesting. I don’t really see the correlation, but that’s probably on me.

Mark: “If the NBA players cared about black lives, they could run a series of TV and print messages on education about cooperating with the police and not resisting arrest and don’t give the police a reason to shoot you.  Go to court and legally win, and to help you we the NBA and the NBA players union are starting a nationwide legal defense fund for individuals we believe are wrongly accused and are innocent. If there is no law and order and crime and punishment, we will not survive. It is a crime to physically fight with police and then try to walk or run off and then reach in your car for a gun or knife or just to leave and to excuse or overlook Mr. Blake fighting with the police to me is adding to the problem and not a solution. Promote solutions.”

Decent points, but not terribly rooted in reality. The reality is, blacks sometimes get arrested for things for which whites would get a citation. For whites to not admit the reality of social injustice is not just part of the problem, it's much of the problem.

Suzanne: “Thanks for today's article!  I enjoy your writing but was truly extra grateful for today's article.  Keep up your helpful perspective on SO many issues!  Good journalism is a real gift to Oklahoma.”

Thanks. You made my day.

Mike: “Your article today joined a few others that you have written since the pandemic started, that your grandchildren will be proud of, long after you are gone. To be on the right side of history, in a state that has never been on the right side of history, takes professional courage. It is ironic that President Trump could be the undoing of sports, as we know it, in a state so entrenched in racial division. There are numerous OU and OSU message boards filled with hateful, racist, pro-Trump comments daily. Why would Black kids want to come here and play for this fan base? The effects of this presidency could be felt on sports for years to come.”

I’m no Trump fan, but I don’t really think he’s to blame for any Oklahoma problems. Nationally, sure, you could make some of those claims. But racial prejudice was in Oklahoma long before Trump.

Joel: “Great post today about why the NBA should play to have the biggest platform. My only quibble is with this notion that their message to vote is going to help them. As long as they tie themselves to BLM, they are just as likely, maybe more likely, to turn out voters who’ll vote for Trump. It’s especially precarious since they’ll be tying themselves, inadvertently, to the violence. It’s a tough spot for people like Chris Paul, who seems to be genuine in his concerns. I’m not so sure about LeBron...he doesn’t strike me as being very sincere. Keep up the good work.”

Interesting that people on both sides were pleased with what I wrote. But LeBron is insincere? That’s an odd thing to say.

Keith: “Been a NBA fan since I watched Bill Russell and Jerry West, but no more.   When I signed a contract to do a job, I didn’t not show up because I was protesting for a cause.   I will not renew my Thunder season tickets nor will I watch the NBA on TV.  Watching Doc Rivers fake crying after he proved he is a racist by turning away from Harrell’s atrocious comments was more than I could bear.   Good riddance NBA!”

Grasping at straws on this show-up-for-work line of thinking. Those are detractors who are out of ideas. But the Montrezl Harrell item is valid. Harrell called Luka Doncic a “bitch-ass white boy.” Harrell later apologized, but there were no ramifications from the league. That’s not acceptable. If Doncic had referred to Harrell’s race, fire and brimstone would have fallen. You can’t have a double standard.

Roy: “You are spot on, as usual. You ask, ‘What more can they do…’ Several months of protests, riots and media coverage have gone nowhere.The rhetoric has gotten louder but not clearer.The solution must lie elsewhere. According to Blackstone, ‘Situations not created by law cannot be adequately addressed by law.’ The police misbehavior is absolutely created by law. The ‘qualified blanket immunity’ is abused by the police administration as it is written. Police MUST be controlled by law AND protected from crippling nuisance lawsuits. Blanket, quick-fixes are guaranteed to fail. Accountability in every encounter has to be addressed. Police cannot be trained to demand absolute control of a situation and escalation to deadly force as routine and accepted policy. When the requirements of the law are changed, then policy, training and behavior will follow. Police supervision is by government bureaucracy and bureaucrats seek first to avoid problems, for their own benefit. Rewrite the law to require absolute proof of need for every escalation from contact to resolution and remove ‘automatic’ steps and stop training police to act from fear. Find a way to block nuisance lawsuits by self-seeking lawyers. On a different but related topic, once again, OKC seems to be ahead of the curve politically. The next police chief (county sheriff) will be black. The situation is NOT Black vs White! Opportunists and power-grabbers on both sides want it to be, that's easy to manipulate. Maybe after November some ability to frame this mess in other than political terms will be possible. Time will tell, always does to those who listen honestly.”

Lots of interesting points in there.

Jay: “Appreciated your comments. I'm a season ticket holder continuously since the 2nd season of the Hornets. I was one of the guys you talked about in your column.  But as I've struggled with it, I realized that I was conflating two issues.  One, is the political enmeshment of basketball.  But the other was how the Thunder adds to my quality of life.  I spend mental energy reading about the game, talking about the game and spending money going to the game.  The back stories, the parallels to other aspects of life and the world.  I was disappointed along with everyone when COVID stopped us in our tracks. But what the players did yesterday willfully broke the rhythm of the game for me.  It might have been a tipping point for my willingness to invest my mental, emotional and financial resources into continuing to follow the sport. A lot of what has been going on in my head regarding the reasons I'm upset ranging from the usefulness of this gesture to the limits of messaging and who else their actions hurt I realized is just noise. I'm giving it a few days before I make a final decision and ending my interest in the Thunder and the NBA.  It is a big step and I would suffer a decline in my quality of life because once I make the decision I intend on sticking with it.  Not just coming back next season and acting like nothing happened. I guess in this sense the players might be right.  There are more important issues in life than basketball.  So why play at all?”

Thanks, Jay. I would encourage everyone to just try to think about the other person. What's it like to be Black in this nation? What's it like to be a police officer? Lots of room for empathy.

Randy: “My friends at the Daily Oklahoman, thought provoking commentary is what you writers try to do, so here goes.  You speak of Oklahoma as a red conservative state, which we are.  That means we don't buy into the nonsense of the left and the media as they stir up the black masses and others to boycott, riot, burn and loot.  The false narrative of cops killing blacks in great numbers is not supported by the facts. Probably the most important thing blacks or anyone needs to know, is how to submit to arrest by the police.  Fighting with, cussing at, running at or from the police is considered resisting arrest, should the police find a gun or knife held by a suspect the outcome could be deadly.   The black suspects recently killed by the police and in the news as martyrs were all career criminals resisting arrest, they were criminals with no respect for law and order, the same kind of criminals causing death and violence all over the OKC area.  The same criminals the police face every day in a difficult mission to protect you and me, from them. We also don't buy into the narrative from the left and the media of white supremacy, systematic racism and white privilege.  I worked with and around blacks all my life in the military, in a large production plant, in the office, in college and played sports against and with them.  They absolutely have the same opportunities as everyone else, they just need to quit whining and focus on the task at hand, just as many of us had to do during our life when our minds were consumed with distractions real or imagined.  A good dose of personal responsibility would cure most of their ills...something they don't care to hear. Blaming me, society or anyone else by calling us racist will not work, it only fosters hard feelings against the media and liberals.  What should we do?  The real question is what should they do.  They need to take a long look in the mirror at themselves and straighten out their lives, stay away from drugs, crime, go get a job and live within their means.  Nothing magical about that formula...the large majority of Americans do it every day.”

And this is what the lack of empathy looks like.

E: “Oh what a tough assignment this must have been to write. I bet you had to choose your words VERY carefully. I bet someone else read it twice before posting, and I think that shows the issue here. One side can say whatever they want without any pushback, but the other side can’t even bring up facts. If you say ‘wait for the facts,’ you are labelled a racist. Now, the motto is ‘white silence is violence.’ And by that they mean if you don’t agree with us you are a racist. This is ludicrous. This is bigger than grown men playing a kid’s game. Rivers can say America doesn’t love black people, but he is factually wrong. Do you have the courage to show him the facts about the popularity of black culture? Its deep impact on America? The rise of black wealth? I voted for Obama twice. Do you see the white faces marching for BLM? I wouldn’t have the courage, so I don’t blame you. America is listening but America is being yelled at. Dialogue is not encouraged. Agree with us or else you are a racist. I love the Thunder, but I will not be bullied into thinking like them, especially in an election year. Conservative values to me are more important than the benefits the NBA brings to our state. If I had to choose between any sport — even my beloved Sooners — and my Bible-based values, I’d choose the Bible. As would you!”

My only response is that conservative values and Bible-based values are not always congruent. Jesus was a liberal.

Greg: “Thanks for your article addressing both sides of the NBA and BLM issue.  I'm in the camp that the players need to ‘shut up and dribble.’  Sports is entertainment and should not be a platform for any social issue.  When they put BLM on the court I turned it off.  Now that they refused to play I hope they cancel the season.  When is America going to wake up and quit supporting these idiots?  And when is the media going to start supporting our police?  Nearly everyone one of these incidents would be prevented if the subject obeyed the police order -- and by not shooting, the police could have been killed.  The police need respect and the public needs to obey police orders -- that's the message that NBA players need to promote.  Until then, I will not watch any games (if they have any more).”

The disconnect between some people over police is striking. Here’s how I would try to explain it. Pick a Supreme Court decision that you didn’t like. What would your response be if you were told, the Court has decided. Live with it.

Carole: “Just read your article about the boycott.  This whole situation breaks my heart.  I don’t like baseball, so I don’t remember this guy’s name, but he was sitting there crying his sweet eyes out asking ‘why don’t people care?’  Ripped my heart out.  Doc Rivers ripped my heart out. It is very difficult for me being an enlightened, compassionate, empathetic person, to live in the state of Oklahoma.  The judgmentalism, the self-righteousness, the basic greed (which leads to us being somewhere between 48 to 49th in education which leads to this being such a red state), the hypocrisy add to the difficulty of living in the state of Oklahoma – the only reason I’ve stayed is because my whole family is here. As a Christian, I believe Jesus leads us to take care of our brothers, not to treat them the way the people of this state seem to think people should be treated. This all wants to make me support the Thunder more.  Unfortunately, being laid off will prevent that. Anyway, since your article reflected you were hearing from the dark side, I wanted you to get a note from the light side.”

I like her phrase. “Breaks my heart.”

Jody: “The Blacks need to do something for themselves. The Black dudes need to stop fathering multiple children and leaving them with single mothers scattered all over the projects.  This lifestyle change would take several years to have a significant impact.  Begging for more government money will never come close to solving the primary issues.  It's wrong and self-serving that Black leadership refuses to acknowledge that some primary issues are self-inflicted wounds.  Obama, Jackson and Sharpton don't have the balls to admit something is wrong with Black societal behavior.  Burning buildings and looting stores will never have a positive impact.  I understand why you can't say or print something of this nature.  Even if you agree with me.”

Well, I don’t agree with you and I did print it. I don’t like burning buildings and looting stores. But how is that different from the stupid 17-year-old kid who drove from Illinois to Wisconsin, fashioning himself as some sort of militia man and shot two protestors? Does he invalidate everything you say?

Jeff: “Just read your article. What I am about to say could probably be considered to be a bit of hyperbole, but it was Pulitzer worthy.  It brought tears to my eyes.  It was so accurate.  I know you'll catch heat from some that probably won't actually read the whole article.  But I just wanted to personally thank you for saying what I've been trying to say to my friends that choose not to rationally listen and evaluate the combination of emotions and data. I have forwarded it to a lot of people tonight who would be on board from word one and those who need to hear it to the last word.  Great work as always.”

Thanks. If we can just talk rationally, it’s a big step forward.

Brian: “I hope they cancel all sports (NBA, NFL, MLB and college) for the rest of the year in protest. I managed to live for 6 months without many live sports. This will be a great social test of whether America needs sports or sports need America. If we can keep everything cancelled until 2022, we can see if anyone wants to spend their money on these whimsical activities.”

We could get rid of all whimsical activities. Live like they did in the Middle Ages.

Greg: “ You can count me as one of the angry who won't change their mind.  Boycott is meaningless to me.  I am already not watching any pro sports.  If the Sooners take a knee, I won't watch them also.  Sure we have a few bad cops, but criminals only need to STOP.  Just comply with the police, how hard can that be. Black Lives Matter are pretty much a domestic terrorist group so I don't support them.  You see people with BLM t-shirts throwing bricks and attacking people.  It's pretty simple American Lives Matter. I totally agree with Tucker Carlson.  This is a class war not a race war.  If you want to improve your class in life, go to work and make it happen.  Stop making excuses.”

I am not kidding when I say this. The number of people whose worldview is shaped by Fox News and Facebook is alarming. And you probably can say the same thing about MSNBC and Facebook, although I don’t come across as many of them, in this part of the country. Cable PR and social media are half our problem.

Chris: “Thank you for the article you wrote in response to today’s NBA boycott. You are a trusted voice in this community and those who are unhappy with the things you mentioned must hear a trusted voice to help them consider a viewpoint they may not believe they should consider. I’m thankful for the way you serve our community.”

I appreciate the words, but I don’t see much of an impact.

Carol: “ I am one of the 11-year season ticket holders who was already mad at the Thunder players, coaches and staff kneeling during the National Anthem.  I was not judging them for wearing the ‘Black Lives Matter’ shirts or messages on their jerseys, but don’t like canceling the games without having full knowledge of this latest situation.  I would be so impressed if they had chosen to also condemn the rioting (not peaceful), vandalism and looting which I believe would have had a great impact on justice for all. No, I am not black, but I also told my sons growing up if they were ever confronted by police to do exactly what they were asked to do….without question.  I guess I was naive to not know that is what all parents taught their children irregardless of their color. I appreciated your article.  With all things going on in the world today, I find myself tonight not that disappointed that I will be canceling my season tickets next year.”

What if in the end, we weren’t ready to be a big-league city after all?

Steve: “Nice column on the NBA boycott. Not going to be many winners on this deal. But I like what you wrote. Kind of explains what's going on.”

You aced it, Steve. No winners.

Chris: “There are a lot of us out here I would put in the disillusioned category. I have said since Kaepernick began his protest, I would like to see him and other players, who have resources, to focus on better police training, community policing and body cameras as a start to the conversation. I still believe that is the place to start. But other than Michael Jordan committing $100 million to address the problem, I haven’t really heard of players stepping up to put their money where their mouths are. Instead, they choose the blame-America-first approach and claim the whole country is racist. That’s not how you get people to come to your cause. The words ‘we the people in order to form a more perfect union establish justice and ensure domestic tranquility’ are powerful words. That phrase laid a foundation for this nation to seek the elimination of oppression and discrimination. The political left ignores the progress we have made in this country. I have tried personally to keep this out of my own political framing. But it is political.  The political left has used race to divide this nation for at least six decades. What began as a righteous protest of misuse of force by law enforcement has been hijacked by anarchists, marxists, and true enemies of the freedoms we hold dear. I don’t know how closely you have examined BLM the organization but disrupting the nuclear family and defunding the police will only hurt, not help minority communities. They also say something in their mission statement about being unapologetically black, which I don’t know what that means, but it doesn’t sound very unifying. And then there is China. It is beyond hypocritical that these same players will call out America for her sins and ignore what goes on in communist China. In case you haven’t checked lately human rights is not the number one goal of the CCP. I do get angry when I think about how the NBA seems to show more allegiance to China than the USA. I would love to hear you write about or take this up on the radio. I am disillusioned about the situation we find ourselves. I am a Thunder fan through and through, but I can’t stomach the NBA. I’m sure having to deal with the virus and it being an election year doesn’t help any of our frame of minds, but this goes beyond a game, it goes beyond race. It is freedom vs. oppression. Our adversaries outside this country and inside this country are doing everything they can to take advantage of this situation. There are many of us out here who want to be sympathetic and would be willing to help, but we see through the veneer, and see how this is being steered to purposely be divisive.”

Chris, doesn’t seem like you’re trying very hard to “keep this out of (his) own political framing.” The one thing I’ll touch is that LeBron James has pledged millions for all kinds of projects, but if you’re getting all your information from one source, you might miss that.

Michael: “We are seeing the demise of sports:  No, the ignorant athletes don't know it, but the sportswriters should; your column today sounded like a lecture. I've read you for years, because you're a peer of Volney Meece & Blackie Sherrod in ability and knowledge. With the Gundy issue, you moved into politics and it seems to continue. The reason sports are imploding is simple, athletes are disrespecting America. They have thrown in with common street thugs who are one or two percent of the population and commit 65 percent of ALL crime. There is the problem. These lecturing players never utter a word about the 100-plus little Black children shot every week; no, it's only for Black thugs who would be alive if not for resisting arrest. The players should be taught the flag they hate was carried by 322,000 White Union Soldiers who died to free their ancestors. America doesn't hate Blacks. Look around and one will find Blacks represented in high positions everywhere. There are more successful Blacks in America than the rest of the world combined. There is never a word from these players about the six million slaves in Africa or poverty and rapes-murders. Why? I have been a Sooner fan since the dirty 30 were chasing McDonald, and I fear Sooner players will emulate the pros...and that will be the end.”

You know, fans like Michael are only hurting themselves. They’ve gotten so worked up, probably by Facebook, that they’re letting go of something they’ve enjoyed all their lives. Sports has been financially harmed in this year of 2020, no doubt, and the racial strife is part of that. But what Michael is really saying is that he wants Black athletes to keep quiet and play ball for his benefit. That’s not going to happen.

Nancy: “I feel I should start by telling you that I am a 63-year- old white woman who is also a big Thunder fan. It has been an amazing ride thus far having an NBA team – exciting games, high character players representing our city, larger circle of diverse friends as we together root for our team. So I am trying to say I appreciate the team on many different levels. I feel the divide(s) in our nation as you do and I feel very sad. I do think that deep down most Americans want the same things for each other, but we have different ideas on how to get there. No one can argue that our African-American brothers and sisters need our help to have the same seat at the table, the same opportunities, the same feelings of safety, the same abilities for pursuit of dreams. We have a long way to go. My own evolution in this is the comparison of Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling four years ago to today. I did not understand what he was trying to do. Today, I get it. So even though I am a middle-America, middle-aged, white, conservative woman, I stand with our NBA players on whatever decision they make – to kneel, to stand, to continue the Bubble play, to stop the season. We all need to look within and decide how we can best make things better. That is an individual decision that others should not criticize. During the unrest of the ‘60s, my father told me how sad he was to see the American flag burned. He served in WWII as a lower ball turret gunner over the European theater of war. He was shot down and became a prisoner of war in Germany. I will not describe the hardships he endured. Even so, he told me, during the ‘60s that he fought so Americans had the right to freedom of expression (protests yes, riots NO). He is not alive today. I know he would be saddened to see Americans kneel before the flag, but he would support their right. Personally, I will not kneel, but I do support our African-American community in their peaceful expressions. Voting is something that I hope all Americans will do this November; it is good to see that is part of the platform of our NBA players. I hope people will research issues, define areas of personal/community importance, wade through the rhetoric and make the decisions (on the ballot) that they feel are important. Jenni mentioned issues related to housing, education, poverty, police -- people should vote with these issues in mind. Voting is difficult for me. I am what you call a Liberal Conservative or maybe a Conservative Liberal (probably leaning more toward the first). With that said, I feel led to state a few things that I have recently researched.Under President Trump, we have had the lowest unemployment rate (highest employment rate) for African Americans since these stats have been recorded. Unemployment started to improve under President Obama and has improved additionally under President Trump (minus Covid of course).  Under President Trump, we have had the lowest African American poverty rate. Again, this started to improve under Obama and continued. This is all good but we still have a long way to go to even the playing field. Arrests of African Americans have declined under the Trump administration with less violent crimes occurring. Steps toward criminal justice reform have happened – First Step Act. This is a Federal act and we need something state-wide that is similar. Related to all of this is of course the sad, very sad, killings of George Floyd and Breanna Taylor. I do not know the circumstances related to Jacob Blake, but it does not seem appropriate. I think we need MORE funding for our police officers and better training. I will vote with this in mind. Opportunity and education can really even the playing field. We have a long way to go here for our minority friends. Under Trump some good things have happened, but we need more. School choice will allow kids on our East side to go to schools of their family’s choice; this is fantastic. I do not know where this is in Oklahoma (if it is happening, how it is happening), but I am looking at this issue when I cast my ballot. Bipartisan vote, under Trump, has given record funding to HBCUs. This is also a good thing. “opportunity Zones are a good idea but I think it needs better management as the funding is not all going to the real needs. I felt the need to write. The Left/Right divisiveness does not help any of us. I think we all want a better America for each and every citizen.”

I don’t agree with some of the things Nancy said, but we need more people like her.

Related Photos
An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice.  (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)

An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to...

<figure><img src="//" alt="Photo - An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)" title="An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)"><figcaption>An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series, Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed, with players around the league choosing to boycott in their strongest statement yet against racial injustice. (Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo via AP)</figcaption></figure>
Berry Tramel

Berry Tramel, a lifelong Oklahoman, sports fan and newspaper reader, joined The Oklahoman in 1991 and has served as beat writer, assistant sports editor, sports editor and columnist. Tramel grew up reading four daily newspapers — The Oklahoman,... Read more ›