September 28, 2021

US sports called off as protests escalate

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Matches in NBA, MLB, WNBA and MLS postponed following player-led actions in response to shooting

Last Updated: 27/08/20 7:36am

WNBA team the Washington Mystics wore T-shirts spelling out the name of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Wisconsin last week WNBA team the Washington Mystics wore T-shirts spelling out the name of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Wisconsin last week

WNBA team the Washington Mystics wore T-shirts spelling out the name of Jacob Blake, who was shot by police in Wisconsin last week

Major US sporting events have been called off as athletes protested against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last week.

Three NBA play-off games, two Major League Baseball matches, three WNBA fixtures and five Major League Soccer games were postponed after player-led actions in response to the shooting of African-American Blake and the civil
unrest that has followed.

Tennis player Naomi Osaka also withdrew from her semi-final at the Western & Southern Open in New York, scheduled for Thursday, saying “before I am an athlete, I am a black woman”.

2:23
Former NBA star Jim Jackson says the Milwaukee Bucks have made the ‘biggest statement’ possible with their decision to boycott their play-off fixture against Orlando Magic in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake

Former NBA star Jim Jackson says the Milwaukee Bucks have made the ‘biggest statement’ possible with their decision to boycott their play-off fixture against Orlando Magic in protest at the police shooting of Jacob Blake

Blake was shot on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin – 40 miles from Milwaukee – in the back, and the incident was captured on phone video, igniting new protests over racial injustice in several cities.

Wednesday’s multi-sport response began when the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their play-off game against the Orlando Magic.

Naomi Osaka had been due to compete in the semi-final of the Western & Southern Open Naomi Osaka had been due to compete in the semi-final of the Western & Southern Open

Naomi Osaka had been due to compete in the semi-final of the Western & Southern Open

Leading 3-1 and needing one more win to move into the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Bucks did not emerge from their locker room for practice ahead of game five.

The NBA swiftly postponed its two other play-off games scheduled for Wednesday night between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.

4:26
NBA players will not showcase their talents while social injustices in the United States continue, following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, according to Jaydee Dyer

NBA players will not showcase their talents while social injustices in the United States continue, following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, according to Jaydee Dyer

Baseball matches between the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee, and between the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres in San Diego, were also postponed.

“The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight’s baseball game,” players from both teams said in a joint statement.

1:27
Milwaukee Bucks players Sterling Brown and George Hill read out a statement after boycotting their match against Orlando Magic

Milwaukee Bucks players Sterling Brown and George Hill read out a statement after boycotting their match against Orlando Magic

“With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression.”

Mariners pitcher Justin Dunn tweeted: “Enough is enough.”

Nashville players take a knee in solidarity before their game against Orlando City which did take place Nashville players take a knee in solidarity before their game against Orlando City which did take place

Nashville players take a knee in solidarity before their game against Orlando City which did take place

The remaining major league matches set down for Wednesday were either in progress or just about to start when the announcements were made.

Inter Miami players wear Black Lives Matter shirts after it was announced their game against Atlanta United would be postponed Inter Miami players wear Black Lives Matter shirts after it was announced their game against Atlanta United would be postponed

Inter Miami players wear Black Lives Matter shirts after it was announced their game against Atlanta United would be postponed

Former world No 1 Osaka later announced her withdrawal decision on Twitter, hours after qualifying for a semi-final against Belgium’s Elise Mertens in the last lead-up tournament to the US Open, which begins on Monday.

The WNBA followed the NBA’s lead by also postponing its three scheduled Wednesday matches, before Major League Soccer announced the postponement of five of its six scheduled fixtures.

Bucks senior vice president Alex Lasry wrote on Twitter: “Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen.”