Protestors responding to Sunday’s police shooting of Stephon Clark effectively shut down the arena before tonight’s Hawks-Kings game and forced a lengthy delay before the matchup finally tipped off in front of a sparse crowd of fans who made it in before the entrance gates were closed.
Sacramento police shot and killed the unarmed, black 22-year-old in his grandparents’ backyard after officers mistook his phone for a gun. Police released the body camera video footage today.
Protestors marched down Interstate 5 and made their way to the arena a little less than an hour before the game’s originally scheduled tipoff of 7 p.m. The entrances to the arena were soon closed, leaving many fans who had been waiting to get in and take their seats stranded.
The team soon announced that the start time would be pushed back to 7:23 p.m, but did not reopen the doors. Here’s the inside of the arena, just before the original tipoff time of 7 p.m.:
An internal feed from the Kings’ arena included team personnel debating whether to proceed with the national anthem as normal (they did not) and deciding to nix team intros and restrict what was shown on the Jumbotron. Before tip-off, the PA announcer invited the fans who were already in the arena to come down to the seats in front and have “a non-alcoholic beverage and a snack, courtesy of the Sacramento Kings.”
Update (10:44 p.m. ET): The Kings have issued a statement.
Tonight’s game began with a delay. Due to law enforcement being unable to ensure ticketed fans could safely enter the arena, the arena remains closed and we ask fans outside to travel home. We will issue further information soon regarding a refund.