The Toronto Raptors have been playing tremendously well in the NBA Bubble, sweeping the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs. Despite the storylines that have presented themselves as we inch closer to crowning another champion, real life caught up to us all this week, reminding players why they were hesitant to join the Bubble in the first place.

As you surely know by now, Jacob Blake, an unarmed 29-year-old Black man, was shot eight times in the back by police as three of his children watched. At the initial reset of the NBA season, several players, including Kyrie Irving, expressed their concern for continuing the season, explaining that the focus would be shifted from police reform and protests against systemic racism. Following Blake's shooting, Fred VanVleet and Norman Powell of the Toronto Raptors are considering making a huge sacrifice, boycotting their future games and asking other teams to consider doing the same.

Both players were available during media calls where they spoke candidly about discussions they have had with other Raptors' players. 

"I'm in a different place today, emotionally speaking. It's starting to feel like everything we're doing is just going through the motions, nothing's changing," said VanVleet during a press call. "What are we willing to give up? Do we actually give a fuck about what’s going on?"

Norm Powell added that he is "sick to his stomach that he has to sit up here and talk about this again," with both noting that the Black Lives Matter messaging and the social justice statements on players' jerseys may not be enough.

Powell and VanVleet's comments have been described as "powerful, emotional, and very real."

The Raptors reportedly held a meeting this morning to speak about what happened to Jacob Blake, where a boycott was considered. 

Jacob Blake survived his shooting but his father confirmed that he is paralyzed from the waist down. Doctors are unsure if the damage is permanent.

[via]