SALT LAKE CITY — I rarely experience writer’s block.

But here I am sitting in front of my laptop with an assignment to write a column about what’s going on with the NBA players’ protest in the aftermath of Jacob Blake being shot by an officer in Wisconsin, and I’m at a loss for words.

Let me clarify that. I was assigned to write about Game 6 between the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets, but that game has been postponed. And it reportedly just about got canceled.

I’m a white, conservative-leaning member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints who’s never personally experienced racism, so part of me feels like it’s better if I just stop right here and write no more.

Maybe it’s not my time to say anything.

Maybe it’s my time to listen and observe and be what Jazz small forward Joe Ingles has on the back of his Utah uniform, an “ally.”

A personal, historic protest that brought the NBA to a stop
NBA will resume playoffs, but Thursday’s games — including Jazz-Nuggets — are postponed

Like many, I’ve seen the gut-wrenching video of Blake being pursued by police around his car before entering it and then being shot seven times in the back. I don’t know the full details of what happened and why. It’s important, as always, for a fair investigation to take place.

But did Blake deserve to get shot in the back, and seven times at that, because he was defying police orders? And what led to that officer’s decision to do that? Was it racism or poor judgment in the heat of the moment or something else?

And did the NBA players — followed by professional athletes of other sports — do the right thing by temporarily refusing to play after the latest officer-involved shooting of an unarmed Black person?

Exasperated athletes who’ve actually dealt with racism clearly believe this peaceful work-stoppage protest was the right thing to do.

Having covered the NBA for more than a decade, I know how much basketball means to these guys. They eat, drink and sleep hoops. They love playing this sport more than my youngest boys love playing Fortnite, which is saying something.

There’s no bigger stage than the playoffs, so their decision to halt hooping shouldn’t be taken lightly.

By showing that they’re willing to sacrifice something they’ve worked so hard for — especially after getting a belated second chance following unusual pandemic circumstances — these professional athletes demonstrated that their love of life and equality are greater than their love for a game and possible financial gain.

That’s admirable.

Some want to shed a negative light on the players’ actions by bringing up the person’s past. But that doesn’t dissuade the athletes from honoring them and mourning their plight.

In the players’ eyes, they see the worth of souls as being great.

Maybe everything they do in an effort to get their point across isn’t what you would do. Maybe there is room for debate and respectful disagreement about their decision to kneel during the national anthem. But these NBA players are demonstrating that they believe an injustice to one is an injustice to all. They want everyone to be treated equally, fairly, justly, morally and humanely.

That’s not just admirable, it’s what we should all desire regardless of skin color, religion, sexual orientation or any other difference.

Perhaps NBA players and other athletes are saying things about civil issues that make us feel uncomfortable or that we occasionally disagree with. And maybe some would prefer if they’d stick to sports, discontinue advocating a “Black Lives Matter” mantra that’s become divisive for various reasons, stop trying to influence the upcoming election and resume the postseason as planned.

But maybe if we take a moment to listen to their hearts with our hearts and truly try to comprehend the pain, frustration and fear they’ve felt for themselves and others in their situation for decades, then maybe we can have more empathy and understanding and less conflict.

Maybe we can all work together and make positive changes happen that will ensure liberty and justice for all.

Maybe we can save lives.

Surely that’s more important than watching or writing about Game 6.