The Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics played “with a heavy heart” on Wednesday night after seeing the US Capitol stormed by hundreds of supporters of outgoing President Donald Trump.
The riotcame a day after prosecutors declined to bring chargesagainst the police officer who shot Jacob Blake.
The incidentin August caused the NBA to postpone games in protest.
A joint statement by Boston and Miami playersread: “2021 is a new year, but some things have not changed.”
It went on: “We play tonight’s game with a heavy heart after Wednesday’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 drastic difference between the way protesters this past spring and summer were treated and the encouragement given to Wednesday’s protesters who acted illegally just shows how much more work we have to do.”
Trump had urged demonstrators to march on the Capitol in a bid to overturn the election result and the ensuing riot left four people dead.
Many spoke at Wednesday’s NBA games about the contrast between the suppression of Black Lives Matter protests last year and the reaction of authorities in Washington DC on Wednesday.
Virtually all Boston and Miami players knelt as the national anthem was played before the Celtics’ 107-105 win and said they would play 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.”
Boston coach Brad Stevens said: “We elected a president who operated in a win-at-all-costs attitude and I always thought that if you operate like that it’s going to be a pretty unfulfilling ending, and in this situation, a disgraceful ending.”
Philadelphia 76ers Coach, Doc Rivers, whose team lead the Eastern Conference after beating the Washington Wizards 141-136, said: “It’s pretty disturbing and sad. I keep hearing, ‘This is an attack on democracy.’ It’s not. Democracy will prevail. It always does.
“Can you imagine today, if those were all black people storming the Capitol, and what would have happened? That, to me, is a picture that’s worth a thousand words for all of us to see.”
Atlanta Hawks Coach, Lloyd Pierce, whose team were beaten 102-94 by the Charlotte Hornets, said: “We all understand that there would be guns ablaze and fires ablaze right now if there were black people protesting.”