In case you missed it earlier this evening, the Milwaukee Bucks of the NBA elected to forfeit their playoff game today against the Orlando Magic as a show of solidarity with those who are protesting police brutality in the wake of Jacob Blake's shooting in Kenosha, WI. When other NBA teams began to follow the Bucks' lead, the NBA acted quickly and elected to postpone all of today's games.
Several MLB teams including the Milwaukee Brewers followed suit. So far no team in the NHL has elected to join the boycott, but the NHL did issue a statement saying that its players are free to protest as they see fit. They also held a brief moment of silence in honour of Jacob Blake prior to puck drop in Game 3 of the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins series.
Now though, the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers of the NBA are threatening to take things a step further with a boycott of the balance of the entire NBA playoffs.
Check it out:
Suffice it to say that this could bring the entire league to its knees. I mean... imagine if two of the top teams in the Stanley Cup Playoffs elected to boycott the rest of the season. For argument's sake, imagine the Boston Bruins and Vegas Golden Knights just decided to pack it in in protest. What happens next? Do the Tampa Bay Lightning and Vancouver Canucks each get an automatic series win? This hypothetical situation sounds crazy, but it's literally the situation that the NBA now finds itself in. Crazy times.
Frankly, if you would have told me a few months back that there'd be no NBA playoffs this year I'd have believed you. But it's absolutely mind blowing to think that the 2020 NBA Championship could be cancelled not because of COVID-19, but because of racial injustice and police brutality.
It remains to be seen whether or not these protests have any lasting effect on the NHL, but frankly I wouldn't hold my breath. The fact of the matter is that the NHL is a predominantly caucasian sport and most of its players are either Canadian or European. With all due respect, an NHL boycott instituted by the players might come across as hollow.