Protesters stopped multiple buses at the NBA bubble in Orlando on Saturday night following the Los Angeles Lakers' victory over the Houston Rockets. Several protesters held up buses containing media members while protesting the killing of Salaythis Melvin. The 22-year-old died from his injuries after being shot while running from Orange County deputies. Authorities found a stolen handgun on his person.
According to Yahoo Sports, the protesters intercepted the buses on Buena Vista Drive and refused to let them through. The individuals carried signs calling Deputy Montiel a murderer due to his role in the shooting. Others said that "officers are not judges + executioner." One of the buses eventually moved on after a driver or official spoke with the protesters and said that the occupants could not come out and support the protest due to a violation of the bubble protocol.
Along with the signs calling Deputy Montiel a murderer, the protesters also held others directly addressing NBA players. They mentioned LeBron James, Anthony Davis, James Harden and Russell Westbrook and called for them to stand with the protesters. According to the Boston Globe's Gary Washburn, the protesters thought that the buses carried NBA players as opposed to media members.
When the footage surfaced on social media, Twitter users responded with both support for the protesters and criticism for the media members. They specifically asked which "White guy," asked the protesters to let them go to bed. These users said that the media members only cared about social injustice when writing about it behind closed doors.
The ongoing protests took center stage on Saturday night following the game between the Lakers and Rockets, prompting several discussions on social media. NFL analyst Michael Strahan kept the issue at the forefront on Sunday afternoon prior to the Week 1 slate of games. He addressed the protests that have taken place across the country since May and talked about how they differed from those in decades past.
"Whenever you have this conversation and people who are not black and brown join, it goes from a conversation to actually action. And we are seeing action now because of that," Strahan said. "I think sometimes when you see athletes and they say 'just play your sport, be quiet, don't have an opinion, you make plenty of money.' You're not immune to it. You still are affected by it in some way, shape, or form because of the color of your skin."
Similar to the protests on Saturday night, Strahan's comments created several conversations on social media. Some users agreed with the Hall of Fame and praised his comments. Others said that they didn't want to watch any political statements on football Sunday.