When the Milwaukee Bucks made the decision to not play Wednesday’s Game 5 against the Magic in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, they chose to remain in the locker room and work towards figuring out what was next and how they could ensure their choice to strike was going to have an impact.
What that led to was a conference call with Wisconsin’s lieutenant governor, Mandela Barnes, and attorney general, Josh Kaul, in which they discussed what steps they could take to get justice for Blake. The result was a statement they released as a team after finally emerging from the locker room hours later, calling on the Wisconsin state legislature to return to session after months off and vote on a bill that included police reform policies.
That was the main takeaway from their conversation with Barnes and Kaul, who noted the most impactful thing they could do was to push for lawmakers to return and put change into action. After that call, Kaul spoke with reporters as he provided an update on the investigation into the police officer who shot Blake and his partners that were at the scene, and made it clear that just in that brief period the Bucks had done more on the issue of police violence and racism than Wisconsin’s state government.
Here's Attorney General Josh Kaul (@WisDOJ) on his phone call with the @Bucks. Kaul adds: "The Bucks have, frankly, done more to address these issues than @SpeakerVos or @SenFitzgerald have done. So I applaud them for stepping up and playing a leadership role in the debate." pic.twitter.com/tobXeFisHW
— Victor Jacobo (@victorjacobo_) August 27, 2020
The question now becomes whether the push from the Bucks and others will lead to action, which is one of the reasons players are calling on league ownership to get more heavily involved. Owners have deep ties in local government (and some nationally), particularly teams like the Bucks that have recently gotten public funding for a new arena, and wielding that power and influence could be what can push lawmakers to enacting some of these changes that players and the people are calling for but otherwise are being ignored.