The Milwaukee Bucks were scheduled to play the Orlando Magic in Game 5 of the first round of the Eastern Conference Playoffs on Wednesday, August 26, 2020.
Instead, they chose to sit out the game to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake and to bring awareness to issues of police and criminal justice reform.
For Fox Sports Wisconsin broadcasters Jim Paschke, Marques Johnson and Zora Stephenson, it was a broadcast unlike any other.
“We were inside of two minutes easily, maybe one minute, before we were going to hit the air. And our producer said ‘Jim, check the screen.’ And I looked and there were no players on the Bucks end of the floor,” Paschke told WTMJ’s Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.
“We had no warning whatsoever. No one had any warning whatsoever. So we took it from there and it was an unfolding story from the point of zero to wherever we ended up that day.”
During the broadcast, Zora Stephenson spoke personally about her own experiences with racism.
“I think for journalists, the stories are always about somebody else,” Stephenson said.
“But you want to give context and background and you want them to understand what’s happening and it just happened that some of the things that I’ve experienced, and that my loved ones have experienced, helped provide more context as to what the Milwaukee Bucks were doing.”
Stephenson says she expects the Bucks players and front office personnel to continue pushing for change, whether they’re in the bubble in Orlando or back in Milwaukee.
“The stance that the Bucks took is not the first time and not the last time,” Stephenson said. “These men in this organization have been working towards change for years and definitely months just this season.”
“All of the guys were marching and protesting, they visited a prison. So this is just one of the other things the Bucks have done and obviously it was a huge, impactful moment but it’s not the only thing this team has done. So once they get outside the bubble, it’s almost the mindset like ‘the work has just begun,'” Stephenson said.
Both Zora Stephenson and Jim Paschke were guests on Wisconsin’s Afternoon News.