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NBA teams, players react after rioters storm US Capitol

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NBA groups confirmed apprehension hours after a violent mob loyal to President Trump was capable of storm the U.S. Capitol.

MIAMI — With phrases and actions, a number of NBA groups confirmed dismay Wednesday hours after a violent mob loyal to President Donald Trump was capable of storm the U.S. Capitol and in response to a call by a Wisconsin prosecutor to not cost a police officer who shot a Black man final 12 months.

In Miami, the Warmth and Boston Celtics launched a joint assertion saying they had been enjoying “with a heavy coronary heart” in a recreation the place most gamers and coaches knelt for the nationwide anthem. In Milwaukee, the Bucks and Detroit Pistons each took turnovers on their first possessions — deliberately, with all 10 gamers on the courtroom kneeling. In Phoenix, the Suns and Toronto Raptors stood in a circle and linked arms for the American and Canadian anthems. Many different tributes befell across the NBA.

Earlier within the day on the Capitol, a mob delayed Congress from certifying the outcomes of November’s election and paving the best way for President-elect Joe Biden to be sworn in later this month.

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“It’s an embarrassing and shameful day in our nation,” New Orleans coach Stan Van Gundy stated.

Wednesday’s occasions got here in the future after the choice to to not carry fees in opposition to the officer who shot Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, final 12 months was introduced. Blake’s taking pictures was one of many many points gamers targeted on final season within the NBA restart bubble, the place the problems of racial injustice and police brutality had been a relentless focus.

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The joint Warmth-Celtics assertion stated, partly: “2021 is a brand new 12 months, however some issues haven’t modified. We play tonight’s recreation with a heavy coronary heart after yesterday’s resolution in Kenosha, and understanding that protesters in our nation’s capital are handled otherwise by political leaders relying on what aspect of sure points they’re on.”

The Celtics mentioned the Blake resolution earlier within the day, earlier than the occasions from the Capitol unfolded. The Celtics then met once more as a crew after arriving on the area in Miami, mentioned choices, and coach Brad Stevens even referred to as his spouse to say that he did not assume his crew would take the ground.

Boston finally selected to play, beating Miami 107-105.

“They’ve operated in a win-at-all-costs perspective,” Stevens stated of Trump’s administration. “I don’t know, our sports activities world is lots much less essential, clearly. However I’ve at all times thought if you happen to operated with a win-at-all-costs perspective, it’s going to be a reasonably unfulfilling ending. And on this scenario, a disgraceful ending. So, I’m wanting ahead to 2 weeks from now, as I do know quite a lot of different individuals are, too.”

Biden might be inaugurated two weeks from Wednesday, on Jan. 20.

RELATED: No fees in opposition to Wisconsin officer who shot Jacob Blake

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It was unclear if any of the groups who knelt could be topic to penalties. The NBA had a rule for many years that gamers and coaches should stand for the nationwide anthem. That rule was relaxed final 12 months when the season resumed on the bubble inside Walt Disney World.

The Bucks received the opening faucet of their recreation, and as an alternative of operating a play two-time reigning NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo merely held the ball as all gamers knelt. That resulted in a turnover, as did the following Detroit possession when Blake Griffin held the ball and gamers took a knee once more. The Bucks stated after the sport they held the ball for 7 seconds to replicate the seven occasions Blake was shot.

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“We wish to do issues to assist make change, be on the appropriate aspect of the battle, proceed to battle, not be in any manner, form or kind distracted or slowed or moved within the incorrect path,” Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer stated. “We have to maintain shifting ahead in all methods, shapes and kinds.”

In the meantime, a males’s faculty basketball recreation scheduled to be performed in Washington on Wednesday night time was postponed after a metropolis curfew was imposed in response to the mob’s actions on the Capitol. The Atlantic 10 Convention recreation between George Washington and UMass might be rescheduled by the league.

One other Washington-based crew, Georgetown, took a knee for the anthem earlier than going through Butler in Indianapolis. “I am saddened,” Hoyas coach Patrick Ewing stated in response to the day’s occasions.

There have been 11 video games on Wednesday’s NBA schedule. All had been performed.

“It feels just a little odd to play a recreation tonight, to be sincere,” Charlotte coach James Borrego stated earlier than his membership performed in Atlanta.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers, who’s Black, spoke of the stark distinction between rallies throughout America final summer season that always included violent skirmishes between protesters and police and what he watched on the Capitol on Wednesday.

“The symbolism of storming the Capitol with out drive achieved to them, if you happen to’re a Black American, it undoubtedly touches you differently,” Rivers stated. “This isn’t a Black factor. That is an American factor.”

AP Sports activities Writers Steve Megargee in Milwaukee, Brett Martel in New Orleans, Howard Fendrich in Washington, Dan Gelston in Philadelphia and Charles Odum in Atlanta, and AP freelancer John Denton in Orlando, Florida, contributed to this report.

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