“For me, I think no matter what, I wasn’t going to play tonight,” said Mookie Betts, the star Dodgers outfielder, who is Black.
The N.B.A. players are withholding their labor, it is not clear for how long, to promote an as-yet undefined campaign for systemic change that includes, but also transcends, ousting the current president.
“BOYCOTTED, NOT *POSTPONED,” the Lakers star LeBron James, who supports Joseph R. Biden Jr., the Democratic nominee, wrote on his Instagram feed late Wednesday.
Even before the Milwaukee Bucks players announced their boycott of Wednesday’s playoff game, Black athletes and their coaches had been offering yearning expressions of anguish as resonant as anything uttered at either political convention.
“It’s amazing why we keep loving this country, and this country does not love us back,” said Doc Rivers, a former point guard, now coach of the Los Angeles Clippers, his eyes welling with tears as he spoke to reporters earlier this week. “It’s really so sad. Like, I should just be a coach. I’m so often reminded of my color. It’s just really sad. We got to do better. But we got to demand better.”
“Proud to know you @DocRivers,” Stephen Curry of the Golden State Warriors, who appeared alongside his family during the Democratic convention last week, wrote in a tweet on Wednesday. “Sometimes we don’t know what to say every time this hurt happens. We Need Change!”
Rudolph W. Giuliani, Mr. Trump’s lawyer — whose eight-year tenure as New York City mayor included numerous episodes of police-instigated violence — ripped into Mr. Rivers during an appearance on Fox News Radio on Wednesday. “What Doc is doing is seriously misleading the African-American community,” he said. “It’s a con job the Democrats have played on them for 60 years.”