UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya has thrown his support behind the NBA players currently boycotting games in an act of protest against police brutality.
Last Sunday, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a black man named Jacob Blake was gunned down by police officers. The incident was captured on video, and sparked outrage at the national and international levels.
That outrage ultimately spread to the NBA, when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to partake in a scheduled playoff game with the Orlando Magic. A number of other teams then followed suit.
While these protests have been the subject of some controversy, Adesanya is soundly on the side of the players seeking justice.
“If the NBA walks out, if they f*ck their money up, that’s the owners’ money and the shareholders and whatever – good,” Adesanya told Luke Thomas this week (via MMA Fighting). “If that’s what it takes to bring change, then good. . . Whatever has to happen, man. I’m finding my own way to change the world around me, but I’m doing that in my own life, away from the media.
“I’m trying to respond, not react, because I feel like that’s what they want,” Adesanya added. “They want me to react. They want us to react. They want us to point the finger – blame each other, this side vs. this side. ‘My God is better than your God. My race is better than your race. My people are better than your people.’
“Like, what the f*ck is Blue Lives Matter?” Adesanya concluded. “You choose to be a cop. You don’t choose to be black. It’s a privilege to be black. Bottom line, I choose to respond, rather than react, so I’m taking my time because it just happened, but good on the players in the NBA for doing so. I commend them for that.”
Israel Adesanya is scheduled to defend the UFC middleweight title against the undefeated Paulo Costa in the main event of UFC 253 on September 26.