Celtics

Jaylen Brown said the NBA postponing games to protest social injustice was ‘necessary’

"We came down here to use our platform, and that's exactly what Milwaukee did, and we all saw its effect."

Jaylen Brown celebrates a 3-point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers. Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

Celtics star Jaylen Brown was reportedly one of the players that stood up for the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to boycott their game on Wednesday, even if they didn’t consult other teams beforehand.

In his first time talking with the media since the league postponed games for three days, Brown confirmed that report and said what the Bucks did and the meetings that followed were “necessary.”

“We all – as athletes – came down here to play basketball,” Brown said. “But in the same sense, we’ve got stuff that’s important. So we’re trying to balance both and having conversations and meetings and things like that is all a part of it.”

Advertisement:

Playing basketball wasn’t the only reason why players decided to enter the league’s bubble in Orlando, according to Brown. He said that players also wanted to do so to use their platform to spotlight social injustice, which the Bucks did Wednesday by boycotting their game. Instead of playing, they spoke to Wisconsin’s attorney general and lieutenant governor to demand action following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.

“We came down here to use our platform and that’s exactly what Milwaukee did and we all saw its effect. We all saw the awareness that was raised,” Brown said. “To be honest, I think we will appreciate what Milwaukee did. There’s a lot of reasons why guys came down here other than basketball and to use our platforms and Milwaukee did exactly that.”

Advertisement:

Brown said on several occasions that he was happy with what was being said among the players during meetings that took place Wednesday and Thursday, saying that he’s “actually proud of our guys for some of the unification that we’ve shown over the last few days.”

However, he was upset at some of the reporting on what was being said in those meetings, calling it divisive several times.

“It was supposed to be a private meeting and I’ve seen some of the headlines and I think it’s an emphasis on the divisiveness of what took place in a lot of those meetings,” Brown said. “But what’s not being talked about is the unification that was being shown. Like, there was a lot of guys in the room that had a lot to say. We all saw the recent videos and we’ve all seen the videos over the years, and frankly, we feel helpless and we feel tired.

Advertisement:

“I was proud to see a lot of guys come in here and share emotions and have real conversation in the room. Instead, I felt like people are focused on the divisiveness of the conversations but to be honest getting all of those guys in the same room to talk about one thing was important.”

After a meeting on Thursday between player representatives on the 13 teams still in the playoffs and league governors, the league and the NBPA agreed to continue the playoffs and said in a statement that they will work together on initiatives to combat social injustice, advocate police reform and promote voting access. The statement also said that a social justice coalition will immediately be established, and that in every NBA city where a team owns its arena, owners will work with local officials to make those arenas a voting location for the 2020 general election.

Advertisement:

Brown said he’s happy with what the NBA has done up to this point in regard to bringing awareness to social injustices, saying the league has “put out all the stops” by placing “Black Lives Matter” on all courts in the bubble and creating “all the video clips we could possibly do.”

However, Brown said he’s “not as confident as I would like to be” that the initiatives agreed to by the league will be followed through.

“I think promises are made year after year. We’ve heard a lot of these terms and words before,” Brown said. “We heard them in 2014 – reform. We’re still hearing them now. A lot of them are just reshaping the same ideas, and nothing is actually taking place.

Advertisement:

“Everybody keeps saying change is going to take this, change is going to take that,” Brown later added. “That’s the incrementalism idea that keeps stringing you along to make you feel like something’s going to happen, something’s going to happen. People were dying in 2014, and it’s 2020 and people are still dying the same way. They keep saying reform, reform, reform, and ain’t nothing being reformed.”

Brown also said that if necessary, a strike “can be done again,” but he hopes that won’t be the case.

The Celtics will take on the Raptors in Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Sunday at 1 p.m. Brown said that Sunday’s game will be a challenge mentally, but it’s a challenge he “willingly signed up for. His mind is still on Blake, who is paralyzed from the waist down after he was shot by police.

Advertisement:

“We’re all centered around the same cause, the shooting of Jacob Blake,” Brown said. “And I feel like there’s an interest in the criminalization of African Americans or Black people in the country. Like, Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times and he’s handcuffed to a bed right now as a reminder, as a reminder to the nurses, as a reminder to his family, to his staff as if being paralyzed wasn’t a reminder enough. It doesn’t make sense, to be honest. It doesn’t make sense.”

Get Boston.com's browser alerts:

Enable breaking news notifications straight to your internet browser.

Jump To Comments

Conversation

This discussion has ended. Please join elsewhere on Boston.com