The NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB all postponed games as athletes staged walkouts following the police shooting of Jacob Blake. Los Angeles Sparks’ Chelsea Gray joins The Final Round panel to break down the details.
- Welcome back to Yahoo Finance and "2020-- A Time for Change." This week, sports leagues-- four different sports leagues, the NBA, the WNBA, Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer-- all postponed games as athletes staged a walkout following the police shooting of Jacob Black.
Joining us now is Chelsea Gray. She's a player for the Los Angeles Sparks. She's joining us from Bradenton, Florida, where she is in the bubble, so to speak.
And, Chelsea, I actually want to start with some comments this morning that came from President Trump's son-in-law and senior advisor Jared Kushner basically dismissing the protest. He was talking about the NBA, in particular, but saying that, you know, these athletes have the luxury of taking the night off of work. I just want to know what last night was like for you guys.
CHELSEA GRAY: Yeah, a lot of things were kind of happening at once, once we kind of got word of what Milwaukee was doing. We wanted to, you know, support kind of our counterpart, right, with the NBA and actually stand up for, you know, the fight that they were kind of having and battling in their own bubble. And we got to the court, and there was just-- we were at conversations after conversations.
And then people had different opinions, things like this, about whether we should sit out. Should we-- you know, should we take this moment? Should we take this time? And ultimately we just decided to take a time-- take a day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization and recommitting to the justice movement.
It's not necessarily saying that we're boycotting the rest of the season, but just taking a stand and a day to, like, take a breather and really understand what's going on in our world right now.
I mean, it's quite difficult. We-- before we knew we were gonna have you on, we had this sound from Doc Rivers, which you've probably seen. Very emotional down there.
It's in stark contrast to what's been happening at the Republican National Convention. We've just had two people on talking about that. And there have been athletes from there as well. But it's really different.
You know, they've had the legendary coach from Notre Dame, an older white man. And it seems like there's this whole generation of other athletes, though, that have a different viewpoint. Do you feel like you're getting your message across? Do you feel like-- that we're at a point where change is happening and is possible right now?
CHELSEA GRAY: I think this time. like, it just-- something about it just feels different. There's just a lot more people, a lot more eyes, a lot of more discussion. And people that's using their platform for this-- it's been amazing.
And I think one of my fellow WNBA players-- she said that we're a league full of a lot of Black women, and we've been used to having people trying to silence our thoughts, trying to silence us, what we feel, and what we think is important. And it hasn't stopped us. We're still leading this fight. We have Breonna Taylor's name on the back of our jerseys. We're still pushing forward this justice movement.
I think a few weeks ago, we had a talk, and Angel McCoughtry said, we're planting seeds, not necessarily saying that something is going to flip around and do a full 180 tomorrow, but we're planting the seeds towards down the line for generations. We have kids here. Like, these are these moments that they're going to remember, like, why I'm able to succeed at this level because of things like this, because we're taking a day in which we're not talking, we're not doing basketball. We're talking about things that's a human issue. And that's kind of been our mindset when being in this bubble, because there's so much more going on outside of the world right now.
- Chelsea, I want to give you an opportunity to respond back to the critics, essentially, who always say the same thing every time athletes come out and talk about social causes that are important to them, particularly with Black Lives Matter recently. What do you say to those people who say, listen, Chelsea, your job is to be a basketball player. You need to just shut up and play.
CHELSEA GRAY: It's ridiculous that they say that, right? They pick and choose when it's time for us to be-- just to be athletes. And you know, before we're even dribbling a ball, throwing a football, you know, taking a swing, whatever we're doing, we're humans. This is a human issue around this country.
And for us to sit back and just, you know, go do our job, that just doesn't make sense to me when at our core, we're just-- we're humans. I'm a Black woman that's out there and that's seeing people being hunted. And you know to just sit back and not say anything, it just doesn't sit right with me.
And it's an issue far beyond the court. You know, basketball, we do this for a short amount of time in a short window. But so we have the rest of our lives [INAUDIBLE] we're human at our core.
So it just doesn't make sense. It doesn't align with anything for me. It doesn't even make me mad anymore, 'cause it-- it's a childish position to take.
- All right, well, sadly, we'll have to leave that conversation there. Chelsea Gray, player with the LA Sparks. Thanks so much for joining us today.
CHELSEA GRAY: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.