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Activist during civil rights movement gives perspective on NBA boycott

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Posted at 1:27 PM, Aug 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-27 15:27:51-04

With home-court advantage taken out of the equation this year because of COVID-19, the NBA playoffs look nothing like they once did. And on Wednesday, the season took yet another dramatic turn with at least one team boycotting the championships.

The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their game to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. It raises the question: what does this mean for the current moment of racial reckoning the nation has found itself in?

Dwight Lewis, an activist during the civil rights movement, says it's about more than one game or any sport in particular.

"Sometimes you have to do things to get attention and say, ‘I can’t take this anymore. I’m mad as hell and I’m not going to take it anymore,’" the now 72-year-old activist explained.

For athletes and teams in the national spotlight, it's about using their platform to get the country to pay attention.

"If you don’t speak out now, what are people going to say about you? That’s what was great about what the Bucks did," he added.

Professional athletes using their platforms to protest racial inequality is nothing new. The first time it happened was during the 1968 Olympics when two African American runners raised their fists during the national anthem to call attention to the civil rights campaign.

Lewis says decades later professional athletes are still harnessing the power that comes with their position to help enact change and move the national dialogue on race forward.

"This is 2020. We’re no better. Racism is still as American as apple pie, unfortunately. So, what did we do to keep these people from not wanting to walk off the basketball court or the football field? What did we do?"