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Celtics, Heat play ‘with a heavy heart’ after briefly walking off court amid national unrest

The Celtics and Warmth briefly left the courtroom earlier than their sport Wednesday evening in response to tumultuous racial and political occasions round the US this week. After they later returned to the ground to play out the contest, they issued an announcement outlining their feelings and knelt for the nationwide anthem.

On Tuesday, the district lawyer in Kenosha, Wis., decided not to file charges towards the police officer who shot Black man Jacob Blake seven instances within the again in an incident that sparked widespread outrage, together with from an NBA neighborhood outspoken about police use of power. On Wednesday, a mob of Donald Trump supporters broke into the Capitol building in response to the upcoming certification of the 2020 presidential election outcomes.

Boston and Miami gamers advised of their assertion that pro-Trump protesters this yr have been “handled in a different way” based mostly on their political affiliation in comparison with those that took to the streets in response to racial injustice final summer season. Gamers from each groups took to a knee earlier than the sport throughout the enjoying of the nationwide anthem.

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“We have now determined to play tonight’s sport to attempt to carry pleasure into individuals’s lives,” the assertion from the Celtics and Warmth learn. “However we should not neglect the injustices in our society, and we’ll proceed to make use of our voices and our platform to spotlight these points and do every part we are able to to work for a extra equal and simply America.”

Basketball has been on the forefront of social activism of late, at instances offering a blueprint for different U.S. sports activities to observe. Final summer season, for instance, the NBA and WNBA halted operations in protest of police power towards Black individuals. MLB, MLS and the NHL made the identical alternative quickly after.

Celtics guard Jaylen Brown has been among the many NBA’s most outspoken gamers, spending vital time in Atlanta to lead protests final Might following the police killing of George Floyd.

About an hour after the Celtics and Warmth took a knee for the nationwide anthem, the Suns and Raptors locked arms for the anthem, and the Bucks and Pistons took a knee following their sport’s opening tipoff.

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