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'The pressure on them to lead' | Ryan Jones praises example of NBA stars

Ryan 'Farmer' Jones says the leadership being shown by NBA players at the moment is an inspiratio...

'The pressure on them to lead'...
Other Sports

'The pressure on them to lead' | Ryan Jones praises example of NBA stars

Ryan 'Farmer' Jones says the leadership being shown by NBA players at the moment is an inspiration to the country, at a particularly difficult time for the United States.

The Editor Emeritus of SLAM Magazine spoke to OTB AM about the Milwaukee Bucks' refusing to take to the court for last night's play-off game against Orlando Magic.

That decision came in the wake of the shooting of a black man, Jacob Blake, just 40 miles south of Milwaukee on Sunday. There have now been calls for the NBA season to be ended early.

Jones says the protest last night against racism and police brutality was a strong show of leadership from the players.

"Obviously all of this is still in the wake of what's happened in the U.S. over the past three months. They finally decided 'Hey, this doesn't feel right.'

"This bubble has been already an emotional, difficult thing for these guys to be isolated from their families in many cases, and down there for potentially a few months depending on how long their teams last in the play-offs.

"So it's already a difficult thing for a lot of these guys, and then add into this what's going on, particularly in a league that is predominantly black. They decided the right thing to do in that moment was 'We're not going to play'.

"These really prominent, well-known, wealthy athletes, the pressure on them to lead by example and lead by statements, even as they're trying to finish the most important part of their season, it's a lot on these guys.

"By the way, they are black men at a time when black people feel very much under attack in this country. It's been a remarkable thing to watch, and continues to be.

"It's just so impressive to me how the majority of these players have handled themselves and handled this moment."

Jones also spoke about the turmoil in general in the United States right now - with natural disasters looming and a nasty presidential election year ongoing around the backdrop of the global pandemic.

"For all of us this year is the year of the unprecedented in a lot of ways. And certainly [in] the U.S. right now. Everything seems kinda crazy right now  - we've got twin hurricanes hitting the Gulf of Mexico right now, and in our politics obviously there's just a lot right now that seems hard to fathom.

"So in that sense, yeah. There was some discussion when teams came back to the bubble, they had a couple of months, there was a sense some players weren't comfortable doing it and weren't sure it was the right thing to do.

"Obviously since the league has re-started, a number of guys have made the point in their post-game media, in response to the first question asked, to bring up the name of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor and continue to draw attention to those issues.

"[This] might mean stopping the whole season. It's crazy to fathom and a few months ago wouldn't have seemed possible, but the way everything's been going lately I guess it's not that surprising I don't think."

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Farmer Jones George Floyd Joseph Conroy Milwaukee Bucks NBA Otb Am Racism Ryan Jones