The team kicked off their match-up by kneeling. The Bucks won the tip-off, but they allowed the ball to roll out of bounds as both teams took a knee. When the Pistons got the ball, they followed suit as both teams took a knee once again. Kneeling has become a popular form of protest in sports since Colin Kaepernick promoted it in 2016.
“This is obviously all something each and every one of us are very, very passionate about, as you guys saw last year, and we continue to be so,” Bucks center Brook Lopez told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
The Bucks and Pistons Protest For Social Justice
Both teams felt angry and outraged that the Kenosha County District Attorney decided not to charge the police officer in the shooting of Jacob Blake. Blake was shot last year after an altercation with the police. His shooting caused widescale protests and riots in the city in the days that followed.
Additionally, the teams protested the events that transpired in Washington D.C. After a Donald Trump rally, a group of hundreds of protesters stormed the Capitol building. The protesters temporarily stopped the confirmation of Joe Biden as the next U.S. President. The ramifications of this event are still being unraveled.
Lopez believes that athletes have a social responsibility to promote change. For instance, the Bucks held a strike last August during the NBA playoffs.
“Absolutely,” Lopez said. “We definitely take pride in that. It’s something we’re very proud of, and I think if you look at teams around the league and the WNBA, you look at what the Atlanta Dream did in Georgia, what an effect they had on their runoff elections in their state. There’s obviously that power to make a change, make a difference. We definitely take that responsibility seriously and we’re proud to be a part of it.”
The Bucks and Pistons weren’t the only teams that protested last night. The Miami Heat and Boston Celtics also took a knee.