The Milwaukee Bucks helped pressure the Wisconsin state legislature to return to session on Monday in the wake of the Jacob Blake shooting last month.
That session, however, lasted fewer than 30 seconds.
The special session was gaveled in and adjourned by the Republican-controlled legislature within just seconds on Monday afternoon, according to Madison.com, and there is reportedly “no indication” that the package of bills Gov. Tony Evers and other Democrats are fighting for will be addressed when the session resumes on Thursday.
That move, Bucks veteran Kyle Korver said Tuesday, was extremely disappointing.
“I think watching what happened [Monday] was disappointing with our legislature gaveling in and gaveling out,” Korver said, via ESPN. “It was disappointing. Surely, there are things to talk about right now, right? Like surely there are things that our state needs leadership in and how can we be better? ... We’re trying to stand for what’s right. We’re trying to stand for people, but we’re demanding that our leaders be better.
“Was there really nothing to talk about yesterday? And is all that’s important in life is ratings and approval? Like what matters in our country? We’re getting so sidetracked with the narratives that people are trying to create. Our team is trying to stand in the middle. We’re trying to be a bridge, and I think we’re all disappointed in what happened yesterday. We can only control what we can control, and we have a big series that we’re in. We’re trying to do both, but we’re trying to stand in the middle. Sport has always had that opportunity. So, we’re trying to partner with the other teams in the state and say how can we be leaders? Because we need leadership in our state and our country. We need leadership that is standing for the people.
“We need this right now, and we’re not getting it. So, we don’t want to be pulled one way or the other. We’re learning on the fly how to try and be in the middle and it’s tough, but that’s our heart and I hope everyone knows it in Wisconsin. We’re trying to stand for what’s right and there are things that need to be addressed in our state.”
Bucks’ strike led to session
The Bucks refused to take the court last Wednesday during their opening-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic in response to the Blake shooting in Kenosha — which sparked mass walkouts in the sports world in the days that followed.
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back multiple times by police as he tried to get into his car and was left paralyzed from the waist down. Video of the incident quickly went viral, drawing instant condemnation and widespread protests.
The Bucks stayed in the locker room last Wednesday for hours, and spoke with Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul and Lt. Gov. Mandela Barnes over the phone.
Evers then called for the special legislative session — which, among other things, would ban the use of chokeholds and no-knock warrants, increased training for police officers annually and the creation of statewide standards of force for police officers.
Nothing, however, was accomplished in that arena on Monday.
“We have been talking about these bills for months, and Republicans have had plenty of time to consider them on the merits,” Evers said, via Madison.com. “I encourage Wisconsinites to contact their elected officials and ask them to show up and get to work to pass these bills. We don’t have time to wait.”
Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer doesn’t get why Wisconsin lawmakers couldn’t even talk to each other on Monday — especially when there are so many issues going on in the state.
“Speaking personally, I think it’s really disappointing that the people we’ve elected to govern in Wisconsin, the people who Republicans and Democrats have put in office. We don’t claim to know everything about politics, but it just seems like to get in a room, to have a conversation, to debate it, to talk about it ... there’s lots of things going on in our state, between COVID-19, social unrest, to come to work, to have conversation, to have debate, to figure out what is going on,” Budenholzer said, via ESPN. “It seems like there’s significant things that need to be addressed, that need to be considered possible. Governance, leadership is needed at this time. So, for the leadership to gavel in and gavel out after 30 seconds is just disappointing. At the end of the day, it feels like there’s work to be done, and they’re not doing it.
“And again, as far as are we capable of staying bipartisan as people in sports and I think the conversation it is, is that it doesn’t matter whether you’re a Republican or Democrat, it seems like you should be in the chambers, having conversations, debating.”
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