Basketball

NBA players again highlight social conscience

As violence at the United States Capitol underlined deep divisions in America yesterday morning (Singapore time), NBA players said the incident helped renew their commitment to fight racial injustice.

Boston Celtics and Miami Heat players knelt during the national anthem before their game in Miami, hours after supporters of President Donald Trump stormed the Capitol as legislators met to certify Joe Biden's victory in last November's election.

The players issued a joint-statement referring not only to the chaotic events in Washington but also over the decision on Tuesday by prosecutors in Wisconsin not to charge the white police officer who shot and paralysed black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha last August.

Protests of Blake's shooting brought the NBA to a standstill for three days in August in a protest of racial injustice that spread across various sports.

"2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed," the Celtics and Heat players said in their statement.

"We play tonight's game with a heavy heart after yesterday's decision in Kenosha and knowing that protesters in our nation's capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on.

"The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today's protesters who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.

"We have decided to play tonight's game to try to bring joy into people's lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society..."

Rookie guard Payton Pritchard scored on a put-back with two-tenths of a second left to give the Celtics a 107-105 win over the Heat.- AFP

Basketball