The WNBA, NBA and Major League Baseball all go on strike for racial justice

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NBA players react to the Bucks boycotting Game 5.

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The attempted murder of Jacob Blake, the terrorism of Kyle Rittenhouse, the continuation of racial justice protests and the absolute travesty of modern American police forces have all come to a head this week. This week was supposed to be about the NBA and WNBA playoffs, the return of tennis in the New York bubble, the Republican National Convention, and failing all of that, this week could have been about the Category 4 hurricane which made landfall last night on the Gulf Coast.

American athletes have been doing stuff with and around Black Lives Matter for months. The WNBA and NBA players in the Bubble have forced their sports to become more proactive in the racial justice movement. But I don’t think many people were expecting what happened yesterday, as Major League Baseball, the NBA and WNBA all went on strike for racial justice.

Professional sports teams in several leagues have taken their most dramatic steps yet in an effort to raise awareness about social justice issues. Wednesday, the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks decided not to play their playoff game against the Orlando Magic, to protest last weekend’s police shooting of Jacob Blake, an African-American man in Wisconsin. Following the Bucks’ decision, the NBA announced all three playoff games scheduled for Wednesday were postponed. According to the league, those three games, including the Houston Rockets vs Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs Portland Trailblazers, will be rescheduled.

After the NBA’s announcement, the dominoes started to fall. In Major League Baseball, three games were postponed. Another Wisconsin team led the way – the Milwaukee Brewers called off their home game against the Cincinnati Reds.

“We need to pause and reflect on the events that are causing such pain and hardship to our local community and country,” the Brewers said in a statement. “The entire organization is committed to putting the spotlight on racial injustice, inequality, and the necessity for change.”

The Seattle Mariners, a team reportedly with the most black players in the majors, decided not to play San Diego on Wednesday, saying the team stands “with our players as they speak out with their words and actions against social injustice.” The Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants also postponed their game.

The WNBA postponed its three-game schedule Wednesday night. Major League Soccer called off five games.

[From NPR]

This week marked the four-year anniversary of the first time Colin Kaepernick kneeled for the anthem. Four years later, and men and women athletes are working together across leagues to stand up for racial justice. None of these leagues have strike clauses in their contracts either – all of them are very much in danger of losing their jobs. It’s impress that several Major League Baseball teams are strking too. It’s a racially diverse sport, for sure, but one associated with whiteness and “all American” energy. I have so much respect for these athletes and how they’re demanding change and peacefully protesting. I’m in awe of LeBron James, George Hill, Sterling Brown, Nneka Ogwumike and all of these athletes.

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37 Responses to “The WNBA, NBA and Major League Baseball all go on strike for racial justice”

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  1. Diana says:

    Makes me cry!!! Hit them where they hurt most- their wallets!!! #respect ✊

    • Sarah says:

      That was my thought, decisions are driven by £$€ these days and that’s the only way to drive change, you’ve got to impact the bottom line.

  2. deezee says:

    Except the NHL …. hmmm

    • Helen says:

      Evander Kane is not here for it, and it is the best.

      The NHL has a huge racism problem, part of which is the fact that hockey is an expensive sport so it’s also a socioeconomic issue Any coverage of it’s Black players is general.ly full of dog whistles, even if it’s supposed to be from a positive point of view. PK Subban is probably the best example, just look at his Wikipedia page.

    • HeyJude says:

      Let’s be honest- if the NHL sat out it’d be performative. A hollow gesture because of public pressure. Outside of a handful of black players the NHL doesn’t care, it’s all their little hockey world and nothing else exists to them. Or it’s seen as an “American problem” because most of the league and staff are Canadians and other internationals. So f— them.

      At the same time it’s not like anybody in America much cares what the NHL says. We hardly remember it exists here most of the time.

  3. VS says:

    Thank you for using the word STRIKE and not Boycott

    • Lavande says:

      I don’t understand, they are not the same word. So does your comment mean that they are being mixed up in other articles?

      • Darla says:

        YEP. A lot of media were calling this a boycott late yesterday, it was all over twitter. They don’t even know what a strike is anymore in this country, sad right?

      • Alarmjaguar says:

        Lavande – a boycott is when consumers protest with their wallets by not buying products, a strike is when workers protest by refusing to work to draw attention to the problem or hurt the bottom line of their employers to bring about change. Both are effective, but strikes are much more risky to the workers.

    • VS says:

      @Lavande — yes. I don’t know if you live in the US or follow US media but people are calling their strike Boycott instead of what it is: a Strike!

      • Lavande says:

        Yes i personally do totally know both words, now I understand the meaning of her /his comment. That’s ridiculous that the wrong word has been used by professional journalists . Not sure the intention behind that “mix up” but I imagine it’s nefarious.
        Although I’m American I live in Canada and don’t really watch any news. I do read news online from bbc, guardian, slate, etc but this is fresh news and I hadn’t read about it anywhere beyond seeing headlines, until now.

  4. Athyrmose says:

    We gotcha cancel culture right here, GOP. ✊🏾

  5. Sonja says:

    And thank you for correctly calling it a strike. I’ve felt incensed all day constantly seeing the media call it a boycott.

    I’m just watching from Australia and wondering how the US ever comes back from this. Don’t get me wrong we’re pretty well screwed here too.

    • MarcelMarcel says:

      Man, I wish people would strike over BLM here. Statistically speaking more Aborginal & Torres Strait Islanders die in custody then their black counterparts in the US. It’s so messed up here.
      I’ve witnessed countless black activists from the US express solidarity with Indigenous Australians. David Dungay and George Floyd both died saying ‘I can’t Breathe’. Tanya Day’s murderers are free and walking the streets. I LOVE I Can’t Breathe (feat. Barkaa) by Dobby. And the amazing art that Fiona Foley makes.
      We also have detention centres aka a heartbreaking human rights abuse nightmare. Trump modelled his refugee policy on ours. The activists at kangaroo point hotel are doing incredible work.
      I was so heartened by the turn out at the BLM protest in Sydney earlier this year. But it’s now fallen out of the mainstream narrative again.
      White Australians are actively choosing racist ignorance while First Nations People are murdered.
      Anyhow, I don’t want the civil unrest happening in the US. But I’m also not sure that things will change without riots and strikes. Protests, Royal Commissions, court cases & official investigations haven’t had any impact on deaths in custody.
      I’m getting my own copy of Dark Emu and I’m ~studying~ it. I’ve also need to educate myself further on the frontier wars.

  6. OSTONE says:

    Don’t forget the MLS.. my wonderful Atlanta United did not play yesterday. The Seattle Sounders, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake etc did not play either.

  7. Mia4s says:

    Have to be honest, I was surprised (given how quickly they rolled over for China without a second thought). But pleasantly surprised. I do wonder if Americans should be googling the words “General Strike”. For so many reasons, it may be time.

    • Lavande says:

      Thank you for mentioning China. It’s very relevant that only some victims are important to, for example, LeBron.
      I have no issue with this strike, and I think it’s a good idea. It comes to mind that Breonna was a more “innocent” victim who they didn’t strike for. and while this victim has a sickening shocking video it seems he was a spouse abuser. I think it’s a gut thing, they identify more with a man even if he was at that house to harass his ex and cross her boundaries, and the video does punch you in the gut. I have mixed feelings because the cops never helped me with my abuser (called them in a similar situation) but they Obviously went way too far here. How can you shoot someone who’s in your car? Does being a cop give you ptsd? Or did they think they will get away with it as they weren’t aware of the video?
      I hope one day men who abuse threaten and stalk women will be apprehended appropriately so that all women can call the cops without worrying a. Someone will die or b. The cops don’t help and the abuser kills her later

      • bleepbloop says:

        not to negate anything you said here, but some of it might be a timing thing. Breonna Taylor was killed on 3.13 and the NBA postponed its season right around the same time (i think on the same day even?). so there was nothing to strike against maybe? also, teams in the playoffs make an f-ton of money, it’s almost all profit. so striking now is more effective for them from a financial standpoint.

        i also don’t follow the nba or its players, so i have no idea how any of them responded publicly after Breonna was killed, so a lot of this might very well have to do with how they identify more, like you (Lavande) mentioned above.

      • VIV says:

        Timing and, for the Milwaukee teams, location. Kenosha is local for them.

      • Lavande says:

        Thanks Very much for the context. I had NO idea about the timing whatsoever (Nor the location) as I don’t watch any American sports leagues.

        It would be great if in the world of soccer anyone will do something like this for the uyghurs. There have been I think At least 3 European soccer Players talking about China and the most recent one touched my heart as he was not a Muslim and he was black saying (I paraphrase) he appreciates the BLM solidarity and wants to do the same for muslims.

  8. trace_smiles says:

    If you can impact popular culture, you can potentially impact critical mass. This is an incredible and inspiring movement by these athletes with a lot to lose but, the ability to change people’s perspectives with their influence. I am so, so impressed with this.

  9. Izzy says:

    Too many Americans will still not GAF until pro and college football are cancelled because teams choose to take this same stand.

  10. Darla says:

    I’ve lost count of the number of white dudes who have mentioned “King James” to me over the years. I knew one, and I am not making this up, who insisted I write “The Lebron James” of the car industry in his website bio. I wonder where they all are at now?

    this is a nightmare. trump is inciting a race war right in front of us, and he has been all along. he’s peaking it now though. he wants blood running through the streets, rivers of it, because he thinks it will terrify white women into voting for him. And also because he’s racist. We still have to say that because somehow it’s up for debate? Dude’s a white supremacist. I also feel that the KKK cops and police unions are going along with it, inciting violence themselves, and also obviously, continuing to murder black people, for the same reason. You don’t want our KKK USA? Well, watch this then. It’s all about scaring white women. Will it work? I dunno.

    I’ve said since the beginning, if he senses he will have to make a sacrifice, he will sacrifice the world instead. These are those chickens coming home to roost. Oh, and America’s racism.

    • Joanna says:

      You nailed it Darla. Sadly

    • Anna says:

      Absolutely. He plays the fool but he and his evil crew know exactly what they’re doing. And that point about scaring white women is right on point. They know what happened last election.

  11. Meredith says:

    It wasn’t all of the MLB, just some teams, which is disappointing but I’m not surprised. Only six teams went on strike. This how you know the black lives matter patches on their uniform is just marketing tool.

  12. TIFFANY says:

    NCAA…..y’all next.

    If there isn’t a group of kids that can wield true power right now, it’s them.

  13. Watson says:

    I support these players. This strike is impactful in two ways: revenue and asking sports fans to acknowledge that they are not mindless voiceless athletes that are supposed to “shut up and play ball”. They are human beings and not slaves!

    Also it gives them protection. If they strike as a team then they can’t get punished the way Kapernick was.

  14. EveV says:

    I started crying reading this. I’m so proud of the players that are standing up for what they believe in and risking so much to do it!

  15. Regina Falangie says:

    This made me cry happy, proud tears. This is so wonderful!!!! I hope the NFL does the same.

  16. Kimmy says:

    I cried this AM hearing about the athlete strike on UP First/NPR. The press conference with the Bucks player…I respect them so much for this. I wish they used their voices earlier, but we need more people standing up and saying “ENOUGH”.

  17. Alex says:

    They’re overpaid and non essential.