The Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs locked arms at center court during the national anthem at Staples Center on Thursday.
The moment of solidarity, which included both coaching staffs and the referees, occurred one day after a violent mob of Trump supporters attacked the United States Capitol Building in an attempt to overthrow the presidential election, and two days after the district attorney in Kenosha, Wisconsin declined to press charges against the police officer who shot Jacob Blake in the back seven times.
Before the game, Lakers’ head coach Frank Vogel had said that his players were planning on doing something before tipoff, but that they were still discussing what to do.
Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich was very outspoken about his feelings on what happened in Washington D.C. on Wednesday.
“That doesn’t happen unless there’s a wink and a nod somewhere,” Popovich said about the mob being able to breach the Capitol Building so easily.
Popovich went on to voice his opinion on the six senators who objected to the electoral college vote in Arizona, and the seven who objected in Pennsylvania after Congress reconvened for a joint session late into the evening on Wednesday night and into Thursday morning.
“[Josh] Hawley’s a joke,” Popovich said about the newly elected Missouri center who objected to the electors in both states. “This entitled, elite, educated person is really smart, just like Ted Cruz is smart, but they throw fuel onto [Donald] Trump’s fire. They are worse than Trump because they are not sick. They’re not deeply flawed. Mr. Trump is not a well man. These people are sane. But their self-interest, their greed, their lust for power outweighs their love of country or their sense of duty to the constitution or to public service.”
Several other NBA teams made statements prior to their games on Wednesday and Thursday night. The Boston Celtics walked off the court ahead of their matchup with the Miami Heat, releasing a statement that they would still play the game, but with a heavy heart because of the events that unfolded.
Many NBA players voiced their opinions during their postgame Zoom interviews or on social media, with a majority of players pointing out the stark contrast between how the Trump mob was treated while breaking into the Capitol Building and how Black Lives Matter protestors were treated with violence and hate while protesting systemic racism over the summer. On Wednesday, Capitol police were seen taking selfies with the protestors and escorting them safely out of the building.
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