The Shooting that Shocked the Sports World
By Sachin Kalahasti
Many players and sports teams have refused to participate in their scheduled games. This has resulted from the aftermath of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, that occurred on August 23th. It has sparked protests from many people including celebrities, all of whom are taking a stand for the “Black Lives Matter” movement, hoping to end police brutality in the United States.
The NBA, which is known as a league that has many players who have been major voices in the world, has had players from the Milwaukee Bucks refuse to play in their playoff matchup against the Orlando Magic on August 26th. According to CNN, players for the Bucks have stated that they are “calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand officers be held accountable.” Because of the Bucks' actions, the NBA ultimately decided to postpone the playoffs until August 29th. In a statement by the Los Angeles Lakers, who were also supposed to play on that day, stated that, “Eighty percent of NBA players are Black men. We cannot love them for the joy entertainment that they bring to the world, yet sit in silence and fail to use our platform and resources to amplify their voices when they demand the justice and equality that America has promised us all…”
Atlanta Dreams center Elizabeth Williams giving statements following the postponement of WNBA games. (https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/27/us/nba-mlb-wnba-strike-sports/index.html)
The WNBA has also decided to take similar action, as three games that were scheduled to be played on August 26th were all postponed as well as three more games that were scheduled to be played on August 27th. Atlanta Dreams center Elizabeth Williams stated, “We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA and we’ll continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action.”
New York Mets players exiting the field after the announcement of postponing the game. (https://news.yahoo.com/watch-ny-mets-miami-marlins-113809005.html)
The MLB, which features many athletes that are African-American, has not only decided to postpone three games on August 26th, but it has also decided to postpone seven games that were scheduled to be played on August 27th. Dominic Smith, a first-baseman for the New York Mets, said on Wednesday, “I think the most difficult part is to see people still don't care. And for this to continuously happen it just shows just the hate in people's heart and that just sucks. Being a Black man in America is not easy.”
New Orlean Saints quarterback Drew Brees attended practice while having “Jacob Blake” on his helmet. (CNN)
The NFL has also seen teams decide to cancel practices for August 27th. In a statement by the Chicago Bears, the team decided to pause scheduled team activities “to voice to each other, our coaches and our staff where we stand on the real issues around race and police brutality.”
Players from the Inter Miami CF leaving the field following the decision of not playing in their scheduled game. (CNN)
The soccer league, MLS, has also announced five games that were supposed to happen on August 26th were postponed. The league put out a statement, saying that, “The entire Major League Soccer family unequivocally condemns racism and has always stood for equality, but we need to do more to take tangible steps to impact change. We will continue to work without players, our clubs and the broader soccer community to harness our collective power to fight for equality and social justice."
Naomi Osaka wearing a “Black Lives Matter” t-shirt while arriving at her semifinal matchup on Friday. (CNN)
The sport of tennis has also seen the same results, as superstar Naomi Osaka stated that she would not participate in the Western & Southern Open semifinals on August 27th. In a post on Twitter, she stated, “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach." She would also later announce in a separate post that the tournament was also pausing play on August 27th with the games set to continue on August 28th.
The NHL decided to display “End Racism” during a Stanley Cup playoff game on Wednesday. (nhl.news)
The last notable sports league to postpone upcoming games was the hockey league, the NHL. The league has decided to postpone two games on August 27th and two more on August 28th for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. In a statement by the NHL and the NHLPA, it stated, “Black and Brown communities continue to face real, painful experiences. The NHL and NHLPA recognize that much work remains to be done before we can play an appropriate role in a discussion centered on diversity, inclusion and social justice."