'We won't be silent': Videos show NBA referees marching against systemic racism, police brutality

NBA referees marched on Thursday morning inside the NBA bubble at Walt Disney World to show their support for Black lives following the shooting of James Blake in Wisconsin.

The official Twitter account for the league's referees announced on Thursday that they are marching inside the bubble at Walt Disney World to show that they are "against racism and grieve for the Black lives taken too soon."

They went on to tweet video of them marching, stating "thank you for standing with us today as we rallied against the senseless shooting of Jacob Blake by the police and the systemic racism that thrives, while young black men and women continue to needlessly die. We won’t be silent."

Reporters inside the bubble also tweeted videos of the referees marching.

The march comes just one day after the Milwaukee Bucks opted to not play in their playoff game against the Orlando Magic to protest the shooting of Jakes Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As a result, the NBA postponed all three matches on Wednesday night. 

The Associated Press said that on Thursday, the NBA’s board of governors will meet and likely address whether the playoff games scheduled for the night will be played. The players also will meet separately to decide how long the stoppage lasts.

A meeting was held the night before as well and both the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers voted to boycott the remaining few games of the NBA season.

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The NBA boycott has changed the narrative across the entire sports landscape, putting the focus squarely on social justice reform in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, while three of his children in his car looked on.

Players from the MLB, WNBA, and MLS went on to boycott their games on Wednesday night too. The Western & Southern Open won’t be played Thursday either, with the U.S. Tennis Association, along with the ATP and WTA Tours, announcing play would be paused after two-time Grand Slam women’s champion Naomi Osaka had already said she wouldn’t play her semifinal match.

Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

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More lost NBA games would be another punishing financial blow in a season in which the league was already headed to losses of hundreds of million of dollars, potentially leading to ramifications that would be felt in future years.

Before coming to Disney, many NBA players wrestled for weeks about whether it was even right to play, fearing that a return to games would take attention off the deaths of, among others, Breonna Taylor and George Floyd in recent months.

They ultimately decided coming to the bubble and playing televised games would give them the largest platform, though now at least some are wondering if that’s still true. 

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.