The National Basketball Association playoffs have come to a screeching halt. The players walked off Wednesday night. Members of the Los Angeles Lakers and the Los Angeles Clippers are considering leading a boycott of the rest of the playoffs.

Sadly, not many people seem to care all that much.

The players are staging a boycott or at least a temporary walkout to protest the police-involved shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. The knee-jerk reaction to the shooting was telling. Little was known about the incident when the players decided to walk. In other words, the players prejudged the situation.

As it turns out, Blake was wanted on a sexual assault warrant. When confronted by police following a domestic complaint, Blake allegedly resisted arrest and then allegedly attempted to reach for a weapon. This is the man the players are threatening to end their playoff season over. It has the feel of rebels in search of a cause.

Here is a dose of reality for you: fan interest in the NBA and its playoff season had waned before this protest began. Ratings for the playoffs were in the toilet. More people were watching Rachel Maddow than basketball. The players were humbled by low fan interest and were sick of life in "the bubble." The truth is, they don't want to play and this is a way out. Blame the cops and praise the criminal.

But fans were already sick of high-priced athletes with outrageous sneaker contracts and ties to communist China preaching to them about politics. These self-absorbed social warriors have sucked the enjoyment out of all professional sports and will now suffer the consequences. And they should.

The politicization of professional sports is the final straw for frustrated fans who want to escape reality by watching the game for a few hours. Many sports fans have had enough and are showing it with their remotes.

Many of these pampered athletes will come to learn soon enough that they just may have strangled the goose that laid the golden egg. Coddling alleged criminals like Jacob Blake while supporting rioters who hurl bricks at cops could mean the end of professional sports as we know it. And that would be a good thing.

Perhaps once the dust settles, we can go back to enjoying sports again without all of the influence of big money and the social justice warriors.

Barry Richard is the host of The Barry Richard Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from noon to 3 p.m. Contact him at barry@wbsm.com and follow him on Twitter @BarryJRichard58. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

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