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.
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.
I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values. pic.twitter.com/rUGETgAt7P
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) August 27, 2020
FUCK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT
— LeBron James (@KingJames) August 26, 2020
The NBA season is going to be cancelled because of racism, not COVID. Think about that.
— Jemele Hill (@jemelehill) August 27, 2020
Photos courtesy of Instagram.