ORLANDO, Fla. - Pat Williams is the co-founder of the Orlando Magic. He watched closely Wednesday night as the Milwaukee Bucks decided to forfeit last night game and the Magic opted not to accept that forfeiture as both teams wanted to steer the spotlight on Kenosha Wisconsin.
“That was very very powerful,” Williams said. “I think they made the decision in Milwaukee which was a very courageous one. And then it was very very interesting to see the other teams fell in line and the other sports fell in line.”
NBA players have been standing up to social injustices for months now. After George Floyd was killed in Minneapolis in May. Every court they’ve played on in the NBA bubble has Black Lives Matter painted across it, and the players are wearing messages of social justice on their jerseys.
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The coronavirus pandemic has been taking over the headlines the last few weeks as schools started opening. After the shooting in Kenosha, the NBA is making it clear that their plight isn’t over.
“Athletes and coaches have a huge platform in this country. We listen to them. We pay attention to the athletes when they speak,” Williams said.
Wednesday night's message was heard loud and clear when other NBA teams chose not to play. Then Major League Baseball games were called off and so were several Major League Soccer games, spreading the message across the sports world.
“The message is we all want to be treated equal, we all want to live in a society where race doesn’t matter, where we’re all considered as God’s children, where we all have equal race,” Williams said.
A few pro sports teams decided to play on Wednesday night, including the Tampa Bay Lightning and Orlando City. FOX 35 News reporter Holly Bristow asked Williams if he thinks those that chose to play missed the mark.
“Probably. Probably. We’ll just have to accept that,” Williams said. He believes the NBA has always lead the way on social issues and their move last night. “This is unprecedented in the history of sports, there have been isolated examples where athletes have protested but never at this level,” Williams said.