Toronto Raptors lock arms with Phoenix Suns in solidarity amid U.S. Capitol riots
Basketball was far from the minds of many NBA fans last night after tens of thousands of pro-Trump protesters stormed the U.S. Capitol building, delaying Congress from certifying the results of November's presidential election and forcing violent chaos upon the country's seat of democracy.
The Toronto Raptors were aware of this heading into their Wednesday evening game against the Phoenix Suns in Arizona, as were their opponents.
So, instead of carrying on like nothing was wrong, players for both teams took to the court in a display of unity prior to tip-off: Two teams, two countries, one circle of powerful athletes denouncing anarchy in Washington.
The Suns and Raptors lock arms in a unified circle for the Canadian and U.S. anthems. pic.twitter.com/SKspSayvTO— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) January 7, 2021
Players and staff for both Phoenix and Toronto linked arms in a centre-court circle as their national anthems played ahead of the January 6 game.
Raptors star Kyle Lowry reportedly met with Chris Paul of the Suns beforehand to discuss the situation, and whether or not it was appropriate to move forward at all.
NBA games have been postponed over the past year, after all, at the behest of players in response to tragic and terrifying events such as the police shooting of Jacob Blake — whose case made headlines once again this week after a Wisconsin prosecutor declined to file charges against the white cop who paralyzed Blake by shooting him in the back seven times this past August.
On August 25 Norman Powell sat at the Raptors' press conference table and told us he was frustrated after another Black man, Jacob Blake, had been shot seven times by law enforcement. Today his frustration remains the same. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/O3N47K7tyn— 𝐀𝐚𝐫𝐨𝐧 𝐑𝐨𝐬𝐞 (@AaronBenRose) January 6, 2021
Raptors head coach Nick Nurse called both the lack of justice for Blake and the Capitol Hill riots "disturbing, disgusting, incredulous" and "sad" when speaking to reporters ahead of last night's game.
"This just seems to be non-stop, and it seems to not improve," he said, noting that the Raps would in fact play Wednesday's game, but "with conflicted feelings."
Suns coach Monty Williams said similarly that the pre-game arm-linking display was "a sign, a symbol of unity and togetherness that we want to be a part of as a league and a country. We realize these are some different times."
Phoenix ended up beating Toronto 123-115, bringing the Suns up to 6-2 and the Raptors down to 1-6 in the season so far.
Disappointed as fans may have been to see their team get stomped again (though not as badly as some previous games to date), nobody marched upon the Phoenix Suns Arena to protest the final score.
Unlike the nonsensical mobs who invaded the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday night, NBA fans keep it civil (and motivated by logic, as opposed to blind hate.)
Join the conversation Load comments