MIAMI — The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat said they will play Wednesday’s game after walking off the floor in Florida and kneeling during the national anthem as rioters stormed Capitol Hill in response to President Trump’s loss of the 2020 Presidential election.
The teams released a joint statement, citing both the riots in Washington, D.C., and their disappointment in the lack of charges for a Kenosha, Wisc. Police officer who shot Jacob Blake as he walked away from a domestic dispute in August 2020.
“We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after yesterday’s decision in Kenosha and knowing that protesters in our nation’s capital are treated differently by political leaders depending on what side of certain issues they are on,” the teams wrote in a statement. “The drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to today’s protesters who acted illegally just shows how much more work we need to do.”
Rioters in Washington, D.C. smashed down windows of the Capitol building, walking into the Senate chambers, rifling through desks and taking pictures there.
“We have decided to play tonight’s game to try to bring joy into people’s lives. But we must not forget the injustices in our society, and we will continue to use our voices and our platform to highlight these issues and do everything we can to work for a more equal and just America. #BLACKLIVESSTILLMATTER”
Miami Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra held a brief media availability but it is unclear whether it happened before or after the teams walked off the floor.
"It's been a tough string of events and even with the Jacob Blake ruling, that was really disheartening. Our whole industry shut down in Orlando for three days, thinking this would be an opportunity for real change and it's disheartening to see that verdict, just really disappointing," Spoelstra said.
The game was scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. ET.