Frye On Bucks: "I Have Never Been Prouder To Be An NBA Player"

Channing Frye commended the Milwaukee Bucks for boycotting Game 5 of their first-round playoff series and taking a stand against racial injustice

Tiki and Tierney
August 26, 2020 - 5:25 pm

The Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their first-round playoff series with the Orlando Magic on Wednesday. 

The Bucks are protesting the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man who was shot by police seven times in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday. The Bucks play their home games roughly 40 miles from Kenosha.

Blake’s attorney said that Blake is paralyzed and that it would take “a miracle” for him to walk again.

Former NBA player and current analyst Channing Frye commended the Bucks for taking a stand.

“You look at who’s inside that locker room, George Hill is a leader, Kyle Korver has spoken out about this, Khris Middleton – they have veteran leaders on that team who are embedded in their community, who are the heart of their community,” Frye told Tiki & Tierney. “And to be honest, [they] felt like coming and playing basketball was going to take away and distract from the issues that have plagued them and their communities most of their life – and most of their grandparents’ life and their parents’ life.

“So by not playing, you put the attention back on what is most important,” Frye continued. “Obviously having Black Lives Matter T-shirts, speaking about it all the time – as a human being, you just become, I don’t want to say numb to it, but it just becomes happenstance. This, putting your money where your beliefs go – to say this game is not more important than what is happening in the world and in America – is huge. It puts everything where it should be.”

The Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder reportedly planned to boycott Game 5 of their first-round series as well. The NBA postponed that game, as well as Game 5 between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers.

“Basketball is a sport, and sport is amazing for the country,” Frye said. “But it is a distraction. Guys are playing basketball because they love it, because they are great at it, because it is an amazing thing, it builds camaraderie, it builds fan bases, it’s great economically. But when people are being killed by people who are being paid to protect us – over hundreds of years – things are wrong. And we’ve said it as Black people, we’ve said it as NBA players, we’ve said it across the country – and obviously it’s fallen on deaf ears. 

“Now we have to say, ‘Hey, we need to take a timeout from playing to address these things,’” Frye continued. “We don’t need a solution tomorrow, but we need to address them. If your kid knocks over a glass of milk, do you just let it sit there [and] watch the game, or do you get up and get a paper towel and clean it up? Right now, we need to get up off the couch and we need to pay attention to what’s going on in America and at least sit down and have a conversation about it, about what needs to be done for this to stop."

Frye, 37, played in the NBA from 2005 to 2019 and won an NBA title with Cleveland in 2016. He is proud that NBA players have taken a stand against racial injustice.

“For me, I am proud of them,” Frye said. “I have never been prouder to be an NBA player, to be a part of that and to know those guys in the locker room and what they’re about. . . . Think about this: The Milwaukee Bucks . . . have a chance to win an NBA Final, a championship. And they are putting that on the line – they are saying what’s happening in America is more important than basketball. Just listen. Just sit down. That’s all they’re asking: sit down and listen and pay attention. This is not anything political. As a human, as a Black man in America, give me the decency to be able – if I make a mistake – to go home to my family. Or [receive] due process. I should not be hunted down like a dog or some type of wild animal. There has to be procedures that need to change that punish people who act like this.”