Multiple US sporting events were called off and athletes staged protests and boycotted events to voice their protest against racial injustice in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by Wisconsin police last week.
Among those postponed due to athletes boycotting the events were three NBA play-off games, two Major League Baseball matches, three WNBA fixtures and five Major League Soccer games.
Players made the extraordinary decisions to protest the shooting on Sunday of Blake, a Black man, in the back while three of his children looked on.
Making their strongest statement yet in the fight against racial injustice, players from six NBA teams decided not to play postseason games on Wednesday in a boycott that quickly reverberated across other professional leagues.
Kenosha is about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. That city’s NBA team, the Bucks, started the boycotts Wednesday by refusing to emerge from their locker room to play a playoff game against the Orlando Magic.
NBA playoff games between Oklahoma City and Houston, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland were also called off. Three WNBA games were also called off.
FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
Demand Justice pic.twitter.com/AzBIxP9ZqT
— Los Angeles Lakers (@Lakers) August 27, 2020
Tennis star Naomi Osaka also withdrew from her semi-final at the Western and Southern Open in New York, scheduled for Thursday, saying “before I am an athlete, I am a black woman”.
— NaomiOsaka大坂なおみ (@naomiosaka) August 27, 2020
Osaka, who represents Japan but grew up in the United States and is based in Los Angeles, was slated to play Elise Mertens in a semifinal match after beating Anett Kontaveit in the quarterfinals Wednesday. She is next scheduled to play in the US Open, which begins Monday.
Twelve of MLB’s originally scheduled 15 games were played on Wednesday, but other teams and individual players joined the Brewers in protest. MLB games between Milwaukee and Cincinnati and Seattle and San Diego were called off following protests.
MLB released a statement saying, “”Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight. Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”
Players from games between Atlanta United and Inter Miami, FC Dallas and Colorado, Portland and San Jose, Real Salt Lake and LAFC, and the LA Galaxy and Seattle all decided not to play in solidarity.
Atlanta United released a statement before its scheduled game against Inter Miami in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. The players all gathered on the field before the game, arm in arm.
Inter Miami and Atlanta United stand together in solidarity as they boycott their match tonight. pic.twitter.com/AuJDSbNvQ1
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) August 27, 2020
“We stand in solidarity with the Black community, with our players, our city and our fans in the fight against injustice,” the statement said. “We must use our voices to be the change.”