Toronto Raptors coach Nick Nurse says the idea of a boycott “is on the table” after players from his team and the Boston Celtics met Tuesday night in advance of their NBA playoff series.
Nurse says other ideas have been discussed as well as the teams look for ways to protest systemic racism and police brutality.
Nurse adds he also has heard talk of a couple of his players leaving the NBA campus and going home, though he doesn’t know if that is a team-wide belief.
The best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal is slated to start Thursday night at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando, Fla.
“They want to be part of a solution, they want to help, they want justice … Boycotting the game has come up for them as a way to demand a little more action, and I think that’s really what they want,” Nurse said in a videoconference with reporters on Wednesday. “I think there’s enough attention, and there’s not quite enough action.”
Raptors players Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell spoke Tuesday about the need to do more in the aftermath of another shooting of a Black man by police.
Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back by police in Wisconsin last weekend.
The Raptors have been at the forefront of the NBA’s social justice initiatives, arriving to the league’s Walt Disney World campus earlier this summer in buses emblazoned with the slogan “Black Lives Matter” and asking for justice for George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and other Black people who have been killed by police.
Last week, video emerged of a law enforcement officer shoving Masai Ujiri as the Raptors president tried to get on the court following the team’s title-clinching win over the Golden State Warriors last year in Oakland, Calif.
The video was part of a countersuit, following a lawsuit by Alameda County sheriff’s deputy Alan Strickland.
“I think that we’ve got some pretty conscientious guys,” Nurse said. “We obviously have the footage and the situation with Masai, and our team just saw that recently as well, so there is some personal-ness to this.”
Nurse also said point guard Kyle Lowry did not practice Wednesday.
The six-time all-star guard suffered an ankle sprain when he stepped on the foot of Chris Chiozza late in the first quarter of Toronto’s 150-122 series-clinching rout of Brooklyn on Sunday night. He is considered day-to-day.
The Canadian Press
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