The Toronto Raptors have discussed potentially boycotting the team's playoff game on Thursday in response to the weekend police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, according to ESPN.
The Raptors held a team meeting before practice today to discuss their next steps, per ESPN's Malika Andrews and Tim Bontemps. Among the options considered was refusing to play Game 1 of the Eastern Conference second round series against the Boston Celtics.
Raptors guards Fred Van Vleet and Norman Powell spoke passionately about their feelings regarding the shooting of Blake, which took place Sunday. Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back multiple times by police while trying to enter his car after reportedly breaking up a fight.
Currently, Blake is hospitalized in stable condition. He is paralyzed from the waist down, but there is no indication yet if the paralysis is permanent.
Van Vleet spoke candidly to reporters about the possibility of a boycott, which is one of several ways the team is considering using to make a statement.
"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," he 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.
"I know it's not that simple. But, at the end of the day if we're gonna sit here and talk about making change then at some point we're gonna have to put our nuts on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility. I'm just over the media aspect of it, it's sensationalized, we talk about it everyday, that's all we see, but it just feels like a big pacifier to me."
Powell added that he was "frustrated" and "sick to my stomach" having to deal with and discuss the Jacob Blake situation.
Game 1 between the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics is currently scheduled for 6:30 p.m. ET on Thursday.
ESPN will broadcast the action--unless the Raptors elect to take a stand by not playing.