The Milwaukee Bucks are just a single game away from finishing off the Orlando Magic and advancing out of their opening-round playoff series at Walt Disney World.
Yet after the police shooting of Jacob Blake on Sunday afternoon in Kenosha, Wisconsin, Bucks guard George Hill said he regrets going to Florida for the season restart in the first place.
“We can’t do anything [from Orlando],” Hill said Monday. “First of all, we shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming here just took all the focal points off what the issues are.”
Hill one of several sports stars speaking out after Blake shooting
Blake, a Black man, was shot seven times in the back by a white police officer as he tried to get into his car — where his three children were waiting in the back seat — on Sunday afternoon.
A lawyer for the family said that Blake had been trying to break up an argument between two women when police arrived. Horrific video of the incident taken from across the street showed the officer shoot Blake multiple times.
Blake, 29, was taken to a local hospital and is now in stable condition, according to The New York Times. The three officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
The shooting sparked massive protests in the city — located just 40 miles south of Milwaukee — and drew widespread condemnation from both inside and outside the sports world.
“The Bucks organization is praying for the recovery of Jacob Blake, who was shot multiple times in the back by a police officer at point-blank range in Kenosha, Wisconsin, yesterday,” the team said in a statement on Monday morning. “Our hearts go out to his family and friends.
“We stand firmly against reoccurring issues of excessive use of force and immediate escalation when engaging the Black community.
“Our organization will continue to stand for all Black lives as we demand accountability and systemic change on behalf of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Sylville Smith, Ernest Lacy, Dontre Hamilton, Tony Robinson, Joel Acevedo and countless other victims. We will work to enact policy change so these incidents no longer exist.”
Hill was asked about the shooting on Monday after their win against the Magic, too, and didn’t hold back. Talking about basketball, he said, can’t be the priority right now.
“It’s just sickening. It’s heartless. It’s a f---ed up situation,” Hill said. “Like I said, you’re supposed to look at the police to protect and serve. Now, it’s looked at harass or shoot.
“To almost take a guy’s life, thank God he’s still alive. I know the cops are probably upset he’s still alive, because I know they surely tried to kill him. But to almost take a man’s life, especially in front of one’s kids, that wasn’t resisting in his back at point-blank range, is a heartless and gutless situation. We need some justice for that.”
Before the season restart, during the peak of the Black Lives Matter movement and widespread protests across the country following the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this year, several players were considering not participating in Florida.
They felt that doing so could be a distraction from the protests and change that so many were fighting to bring about.
“We’re here, so it is what it is,” Hill said. “We can’t do anything from right here, but I think definitely when it’s all settled, some things have to be done. I think this world has to change. I think our police department has to change. Us as a society has to change.
“Right now, we're not seeing any of that. Lives are being taken as we speak, day in and day out, and there’s no consequence or accountability for it, and that’s what has to change.”
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