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Analyzing the NBA Boycott to Protest Racial Injustice
Read the article NBA playoff games called off amid player protest, reverberates through other leagues and the summary below. Make sure you know the basic facts of the story by filling in the Journalists’ 5Ws and answering the rest of the questions.
- All three NBA playoff games on Wednesday were postponed based on players’ decisions to boycott racial injustice.
- The decision follows a refusal to play by the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are the NBA team that plays close to the city of Kenosha, where unrest and protests in recent days have followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed 29-year-old Black man.
- Blake is a father of four young children, three of whom witnessed the shooting. He is recovering in the hospital and is paralyzed from seven gunshot wounds after he tried to break up a fight, according to his lawyer.
- WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer quickly followed suit with teams calling off games this week while a few others pushed for the season to end immediately.
- On Thursday, NBA players and owners met separately to discuss next steps for the league.
Journalists’ FIVE W’s Plus an H:
NBA Boycott: Discussion Questions
- Focus question: Do you agree with the decision by professional athletes to boycott games in protest against police brutality and racism? Why or why not?
- Historical context: What are a few other examples from history of athletes taking a stand against racial injustice? If you are stuck, check out the extension activity below.
- Media literacy: Look up some sports news sites, i.e. ESPN, Bleacher Report, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, etc. Do you see any differences or similarities between the way these outlets covered the NBA story and the Associated Press’ article you read above? Explain.
NBA Boycott: Activities
1. Check out this NewsHour EXTRA lesson on U.S. Women’s Soccer and the fight for equal pay. Conduct a quick Google search as to where things stand now. What did you find? What are some differences and similarities between the NBA players’ boycott and the action taken by U.S. Women’s Soccer players?
2. Dig deeper: Watch The Young Turks video below about Australian Olympian Peter Norman’s role on the podium alongside Olympic athletes Tommie Smith and John Carlos in 1968.
- How did Norman demonstrate empathy towards Smith and Carlos?
- What repercussions did Norman experience as a result of his show of solidarity with Smith and Carlos?
- Why do you think Norman’s story is little known?
- What would you do if you were in Norman’s position? Would you have taken the pardon? Why or why not?
Republished with permission from PBS NewsHour Extra.