People protesting the death of Stephon Clark – an unarmed black man shot by police while they pursued him on suspicion of breaking into cars – have twice blocked fans from entering Sacramento Kings games.
The Kings played both games in front of sparse crowds, told fans stuck outside to go home and refunded tickets. Kings owner Vivek Ranadive spoke before the first game, offering sympathy to Clark’s family and support to the protesters. The Kings have formally partnered with Black Lives Matter Sacramento and the Build. Black. Coalition.
What will happen when the Kings host the Pacers tonight?
Stephon Clark’s brother, Stevante Clark, urges protesters to pick a different method.
Frances Wang of ABC 10:
The second time, it was not cool. But that’s not cool. We don’t support people shutting down our businesses. The Sacramento Kings love us. They could have left and went anywhere, but they stayed here in our city. We should respect them and love them. If you love me, you will love the Kings. If you shout Stephon Clark, you will never protest at the Kings’ arena again. If you do, you do not love me, period. Because I asked you to do something, and you didn’t do it.
I’m open to peaceful protests that purposefully make people uncomfortable. Black people face discomfort that others don’t every day.
Ticketholders denied entrance to the arena by protesters can validly feel upset. But they should also ask themselves whether they’re more upset about missing a basketball game or the racism that limits and even sometimes kills people.
But a consequence of this protest is hurting a supportive business. (Ranadive’s comments and actions show a commitment to the cause. I’m not impressed with his morals just because he made a business decision to keep the team in Sacramento after the city spent a ton of taxpayer money on a new arena.)
Protesters obviously aren’t obligated to share Stevante’s view, but he has taken a leadership position in this movement. We’ll see tonight whether tactics have changed.