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#pounditMonday, December 6, 2021

Raptors discussed boycotting Game 2 vs. Celtics over Jacob Blake shooting

Fred VanVleet

The Toronto Raptors met on Tuesday to discuss how they want to respond to the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer. One of the options includes refusing to play in Thursday’s playoff series opener against the Boston Celtics.

The Raptors have floated the idea of boycotting Game 1, according to ESPN’s Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps. Veteran guard Fred VanVleet confirmed after Tuesday’s practice that the team held a meeting. While he did not say the Raptors are considering skipping Game 1, he discussed the impact he thinks a boycott could have.

“We knew coming here or not coming here was not going to stop anything, but I think ultimately playing or not playing puts pressure on somebody,” VanVleet said. “So, for example, this happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, if I’m correct? Would it be nice if, in a perfect world, we all say we’re not playing, and the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks — that’s going to trickle down. If he steps up to the plate and puts pressure on the district attorney’s office, and state’s attorney, and governors, and politicians there to make real change and get some justice.”

Blake, who is black, was shot several times in the back by police who were responding to a domestic violence call in Kenosha on Sunday. He has been left paralyzed from the waist down, and doctors are unsure if the paralysis will be permanent. The incident is under investigation.

Celtics coach Brad Stevens said his team also met to discuss the incident. Stevens said none of his players said specifically that they were considering not playing on Thursday. He called the video of the incident “horrifying.”

Some NBA players said months ago that they were unsure if they would take part in the NBA restart in Orlando due to social justice issues. It’s unclear if any are planning to sit over the Blake incident.

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