Raptors reportedly discussed ways to respond to Jacob Blake shooting, including boycotting Game 1 vs. Celtics

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By WEEI 93.7

Following the police shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Wisconsin, according to ESPN, the Raptors are discussing ways to respond.

One of those options is potentially boycotting Thursday's Game 1 against the Celtics in the second round of the NBA playoffs in Orlando.

"We knew coming here or not coming here was not going to stop anything, but I think ultimately playing or not playing puts pressure on somebody," Raptors guard Fred VanVleet told reporters Tuesday. "So, for example, this happened in Kenosha, Wisconsin, if I'm correct? Would it be nice if, in a perfect world, we all say we're not playing, and the owner of the Milwaukee Bucks -- that's going to trickle down. If he steps up to the plate and puts pressure on the district attorney's office, and state's attorney, and governors, and politicians there to make real change and get some justice.

"I know it's not that simple. But, at the end of the day if we're gonna sit here and talk about making change then at some point we're gonna have to put our nuts on the line and actually put something up to lose, rather than just money or visibility. I'm just over the media aspect of it, it's sensationalized, we talk about it everyday, that's all we see, but it just feels like a big pacifier to me."

Blake, who is Black, was shot by police on Sunday when he was trying to get into the driver's side door of his car as police were responding to a domestic disturbance. He is currently in the hospital with serious injuries.

VanVleet refused to go into detail of what the Raptors could potentially do.

"I'll keep that between our team," he said. "We're dealing with it in real time and I think it affects everybody differently. It's pretty fresh on my mind and I'm sitting in front of a camera, so I'm just speaking as I'm going. But, yeah, there's a lot of different things that we've discussed."

As for the Celtics, Brad Stevens said he and his team had a meeting Tuesday to discuss the shooting, but no players expressed the desire not to play.

"Obviously our thoughts go to Jacob Blake and his family," Stevens said. "And, obviously, that video was horrifying. That video was awful. And to think of three kids being in that car is like ... that just makes you shaken, right? It's ridiculous. We haven't talked about necessarily ... we've talked about it as a team and just how we feel. We haven't talked about it enough, but obviously everybody is shook. There's a reason why the guys, coaches, players, everyone here has chosen to really emphasize social justice and racial equality while we're here. To think that this happens again ... I thought LeBron [James'] words were poignant last night. Those are not ... I've heard those over and over.

"I've said this before, I can't pretend to understand what that's like because I don't know what that's like. But I know I've heard it over and over. So there's obviously a problem. So I completely understand everybody's emotions here and elsewhere, with regard to that."

Jaylen Brown was emotional when speaking on the topic.

"It was hard enough even coming down here to be honest," he said. "But I guess [boycotting is] something you talk about with your team, for sure. We haven't talked about that as the Celtics. But those emotions are real. That is real. Yes, we're athletes. Yes, we're being paid to play a sport that we love. But we are human beings, members of our community. We are fathers, uncles, nephews, brothers, etc. So all those emotions are real and I don't really have a lot to say.

"I'm just happy by the grace of God that Jacob Blake is still alive, because the police who shot him, that wasn't their intention. They shot him to kill him, and that's a problem in this country. There's a million different ways you could have dissolved that situation and your thought was to kill him. That was the best method. It's definitely hard to digest or to process how you feel about it. Everything on me was on fire yesterday, waking up to it. To see people changing the framing of what he did in the past, in terms of, 'Well, he was a convicted felon,' or, 'Well, he had a history of resisting arrest or possibly had a weapon.'

"That is not [an] unfamiliar framework in this country. We've seen that time and time again. That does not constitute or justify the fact that you are shooting someone seven times in the back or killing them, at all. Anybody who thinks differently is no friend of mine."

Game 1 is scheduled for Thursday at 6:30 p.m.