LeBron James was quick to react on Tuesday night after prosecutors declined to press charges against the officer who shot Jacob Blake multiple times in the back in August — something that caused massive protests in the NBA and elsewhere last summer.
A Wisconsin prosecutor said Tuesday that they will not pursue criminal charges against police officer Rusten Sheskey, who is white, after he shot Blake, a Black man, multiple times in the back in August. The shooting, which was caught on video, left Blake paralyzed and sparked widespread outrage and protests both in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and across the country.
Kyle Rittenhouse, a 18-year-old from Illinois, pleaded not guilty on Tuesday to six criminal charges after he shot and killed two people during protests in Kenosha after the Blake shooting.
There was widespread protesting in the sports world in the wake of the shooting, too. The Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court during their opening-round playoff series inside the NBA bubble in August in response to the shooting, which led to similar walkouts and strikes across the league, WNBA, MLB and more.
James, with a short and simple quote tweet, was not happy with the news.
"To hear what happened in Kenosha today was a blow to the heart and to the gut, not just in that community but to us,” James said after the Los Angeles Lakers’ 94-92 win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Tuesday night, via USA Today’s Mark Medina.
Anthony Davis felt the same way after the win in Tennessee.
Anthony Davis on the Jacob Blake decision: "We feel like we let the family down."
— Melissa Rohlin (@melissarohlin) January 6, 2021
Those two weren’t alone in the basketball world, either. Nets coach Steve Nash was asked about it before their matchup with the Utah Jazz on Tuesday night.
Steve Nash says it’s “very upsetting” that there are no formal charges brought forth against the officers that killed Jacob Blake. Did not know about it until @Malika_andrews asked him.
— Kristian Winfield (@Krisplashed) January 5, 2021
After seeing how big of an impact the shooting had on the NBA last season, it won’t be surprising if more across the league speak out about the decision in the coming days.
Bucks issue team statement
The Bucks, who were at the forefront of the protests in August, issued a team statement on Tuesday night following the news.
While they didn’t specifically condemn the lack of charges — or mention Kenosha or Blake’s name — the organization did reaffirm their commitment against “excessive use of force by law enforcement.”
“This past year shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American and other marginalized communities,” the statement read, in part. “Reoccurring instances of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the Black community must stop. We will continue to work to enact policy changes so these incidents no longer exist.”
Marquette honors Blake with black uniforms
Marquette, which sits just 40 miles south of Kenosha in Milwaukee, honored Blake during its matchup with UConn on Tuesday night.
The program opted to wear special black uniforms for the game at Fiserv Forum “in support of Jacob Blake, his family and the Kenosha community.” The team took a knee before the game, too, and wore special “Black Lives Matter” warm up shirts.
The Marquette men’s basketball team took a knee prior to its game vs. UConn and wore black uniforms in support of Jacob Blake after the Kenosha County district attorney decided not to charge any of the officers involved in his shooting
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) January 6, 2021
“We are extremely disappointed in the decision involving Jacob’s shooting and we will continue to use our platform to advocate and fight for racial justice,” the team said in a statement, in part. “This is another reminder that just because racial and social justice hasn’t received as much attention recently, doesn’t mean the need to fight against it has gone away.”
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