NBA Teams Boycott Playoff Games to Protest Police Shooting

NBA teams are boycotting the league’s playoff games to protest the police shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin, putting the league’s season in doubt for the second time this year.

TheMilwaukee Bucks were the first to sit out. The team was scheduled to take the court for game five of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic at 4:10 p.m. New York time. NBA TV said that the game would be postponed shortly after the team didn’t come out of the locker room. The league confirmed later that Wednesday’s matchups are postponed.

The boycott pulls professional sports further into the national controversy over police shootings, threatening financial consequences for team owners and players, broadcasters, marketers of memorabilia, and even betting houses.

The Bucks, owned by hedge fund titans Marc Lasry and Wes Edens, typically play their games about 40 miles (64 kilometers) from Kenosha. Reports swirled earlier this week that teams like the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors were consideringsimilar action.

After word spread that the Bucks won’t be playing, the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder decided to not take the court for their playoff matchup on Wednesday night. The Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trailblazers also said they wouldn’t play their game scheduled for 9 p.m.

The boycott had an immediate impact on broadcasters. NBA TV’s coverage has turned to a discussion of racial issues in the U.S. Guests like former player Brendan Haywood speculated as to whether players would ultimately leave the bubble, the Orlando site where the playoffs are being held, possibly putting an end to the National Basketball Association’s season.

Shares ofDraftKings Inc., an online betting outfit, fell as much as 4.1% in extended trading before paring their decline.Penn National Gaming Inc. was also down as much as 0.6%.

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LeBron James was among those who tweeted their support for the Bucks. James’s tweet, which included expletives, ended with “We demand change. Sick of it.”

NBA players have scheduled a meeting Wednesday to discuss next steps, according to the Athletic.

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