Photo Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
March Madness has been sidelined yet again for the second time in four years, but this time, a pandemic wasn’t the issue that got in the way. In the second half of a competitive and highly anticipated First Four game between 11 seeds Mississippi State and Pittsburgh, climate change activists made their way to the front row of the stands and threw hot soup onto the court, melting the plastic covering and postponing the remainder of the game.
The protests, led by Sunshine Jones, a political activist and best selling author of the climate change novel titled The Problem with Wood, had been taking place months before in Boston, Massachusetts, right outside of TD Garden, regarding the hardwood used for the court inside of TD Garden. Jones was quoted as saying, “This wood results in the cutting down of hundreds of thousands of trees every year for every level of the sport, and it is ruining our world and pointing Earth in a path of destruction.”
However, the protests outside of TD Garden didn’t result in much progress, so Jones took it into her own hands. A group containing her and about 45 to 50 of her followers marched into TD Garden during a game between the Celtics and Knicks. Everyone in the group purchased a large hot chocolate, went down to the court, and threw the hot beverage onto the court, melting the plastic framing and delaying the game. Jones and her group were escorted from the game, but surprisingly, no charges were filed against them.
According to a member of the group, Jones still wasn’t satisfied with the environmental changes being made, and because that certain NBA game was not on a national television channel, most climate change activists didn’t see the protest, and it didn't make the impact Jones anticipated.
This member (who wanted to remain anonymous) went on to disclose that Jones had been planning the protest at the First Four ever since, in order to draw national attention to her cause. The group of about 50, most of whom had been at the TD Garden incident, gathered at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites, about a 30-minute walk from the arena. They then walked to the deli in the University of Dayton dining hall, obtained a collective 2 gallons of soup into a Gatorade cooler, and made their way to the arena.
Jones, along with a couple other constituents, stole press passes from camera operators, and proceeded to sneak the soup into the arena through the loading dock in the lower level. They stuck the cooler next to a couple others behind the benches. According to our source, they obtained a queue with around 12 minutes left in the first half, knocked the container onto the floor, and watched their plan come into fruition.
46 members of this plan are currently being held in the Dayton Correctional Institution until their trial, which takes place on April 2nd. The charges brought against these individuals include criminal trespassing, aggravated assault, and even stalking.