Fred VanVleet and fellow Toronto Raptors player Norm Powell say they’re contemplating boycotting upcoming games in response to the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake was attempting to enter a vehicle while several police officers trailed him, with their guns drawn. As Blake opened the door and began getting in, one officer grabbed him by the back of his shirt and fired seven shots into his back at point-blank rage. Blake is now reportedly paralyzed from the waist down.
Video of the incident went viral, sparking protests in Kenosha and outrage throughout the world.
In a press conference on Tuesday, tweeted Bleacher Report/Turner Sports reporter Taylor Rooks, VanVleet refused to take any basketball-related questions, and would on discuss Blake’s shooting.
Rooks asked VanVleet a simple question: “How are you doing?” He proceeded to open up about the complex range of emotions he was experiencing, ranging from anger to his own sense of guilt that he wasn’t doing enough to facilitate change.
Fred VanVleet took no basketball questions and only spoke about Jacob Blake. He was incredibly thoughtful and visibly emotional – so I simply asked him how he’s doing. pic.twitter.com/9gSaFf4Bc4
— Taylor Rooks (@TaylorRooks) August 25, 2020
Powell discussed the possibility of the Raptors boycotting games. “It’s being talked about,” he said, adding that “taking a knee is not getting it done.”
“It’s being talked about …. taking a knee is not getting it done.” Norm Powell about the possibility of boycotting games.
— Michael Grange (@michaelgrange) August 25, 2020
As USA Today reports, VanVleet elaborated .
“I’m in a different place today, emotionally speaking. It’s starting to feel like everything we’re doing is just going through the motions, nothing’s changing,” VanVleet said during a press call on Tuesday.
“What are we willing to give up?” he added. “Do we actually give a f**k about what’s going on? Or is it just cool to wear BLM on the backdrop or wear a T-shirt? What does that really mean? Is it really doing anything? I don’t have the answers for you today.”
Blake’s shooting, VanVleet added, is “all that’s been on my mind. Coming down here and making a choice to play was supposed to not be in vain. But it’s starting to feel like everything we’re doing is just going through the motions and nothing’s really changing and here we are again with another unfortunate incident.”