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'Any Forms of Vigilantism in Our Society are Unacceptable': NBA Reacts to Rittenhouse Verdict

Mike Ehrmann/Pool Photo via AP

The NBA issued a response to Kyle Rittenhouse's Friday acquittal of all charges brought against him, in which the league suggested the defendant was a vigilante and falsely claimed that the Kenosha rioters were peacefully protesting.

Rittenhouse was found not guilty on all counts first-degree reckless homicide, first-degree recklessly endangering safety, first-degree intentional homicide and attempted first-degree intentional homicide after he had been on trial for shooting and killing two men, and injuring a third during an August 2020 riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin that was in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

And as shown throughout the trial, Rittenhouse acted in self-defense when he killed Joseph Rosenbaum and Anthony Huber, and injured Gaige Grosskreutz. On the witness stand, Grosskreutz even admitted to pulling a gun on Rittenhouse before he was shot.

"Our thoughts are with the families of those whose lives were taken in this tragedy," NBA National Basketball Social Justice Coalition Executive Director James Cadogan said in a statement Friday. "The right to peacefully protest is a bedrock of our democracy and the National Basketball Social Justice Coalition remains committed to preserving that right for all. Any forms of vigilantism in our society are unacceptable."

Wisconsin's NBA team, the Milwaukee Bucks, also spoke on Friday's verdict, with Head Coach Mike Budenholzer telling reporters that the team would "continue to fight for better" and All-Star forward Kris Middleton expressing that he was disappointed with the outcome of the trial.

"We talked about [the verdict] a little bit as a team," Middleton said Friday. "Speaking for myself, it was definitely disappointing, but at the same time, it really wasn't surprising about the verdict. I watched [the trial] a little bit and was able to keep up with it, but it's something that I think we've all seen over and over again." 

Notably, the Bucks staged a wildcat strike in August 2020 in protest of the shooting of Blake, resulting in the rescheduling of their first-round series playoff game against the Orlando Magic.

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