Yesterday saw a growing number of professional athletes across the sports world, taking a stand for Black Lives Matter on Wednesday night by holding an unprecedented wildcat strike and refusing to play their regularly scheduled games.
It started with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and stemmed from the police killing of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. The stand quickly spread across a number of sports and even into the broadcast booth, where TNT’s “Inside the NBA” analyst Kenny Smith took off his mic and walked off stage.
Soon after, the NBA announced it would postpone Game 5 of three different playoff series — the Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers.
The postponed games have not yet been rescheduled, and the entire NBA playoffs now hangs in the balance.
In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Bucks players said they are “calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. “
“The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings,” they said in a statement.
“Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
Three MLB games were postponed: Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants.
The Mariners unanimously voted to not play their scheduled game against the Padres, Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon said in a tweet.
“There are serious issues in this country,” Gordon wrote. “For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal. This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight”
Five Major League Soccer games scheduled to take place on Wednesday night were postponed, the league announced.
“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,” MLS said. “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.”
Tennis superstar Naomi Osaka announced on social media that she will not play in the Western & Southern Open semifinals on Thursday.
“Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach,” she wrote.
The Washington Mystics of the WNBA took a creative approach to their boycott, wearing T-shirts that spelled out the name of Jacob Blake on the front and with bullet holes on the back.
The NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, however, continued Wednesday with two games.
Before the start of Game 3 of the second-round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, there was a moment of reflection for racism in response to the Blake shooting.