Sporting Competition Postponements Occurred Across America in Response to Jacob Blake Shooting
Image Courtesy of Aaron of L.A. Photography/Shutterstock
A historic day in sports began on Wednesday when various sports leagues across America have decided not to participate in Wednesday’s games as a means of protesting against the shooting of Jacob S. Blake, a 29-year-old African American who was shot multiple times by police officers during an arrest on Sunday. In response to the shooting, the NBA, NFL, MLS, and MLB have all had protest postponements on Wednesday after many athletes have begun protesting against police brutality and social injustices. Although players like LeBron James have been told to “shut up and dribble” in the past, they have shown us that they are human beings first, and that they are just as much a part of our society as anyone else. After the shooting of Blake, players and leagues have used their platforms together to shine light on the social injustices that have been occurring, in hopes of promoting equality and change in America.
The Milwaukee Bucks players led competition postponements on Wednesday when they opted not to play Game 5 of the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic in their response to the shooting, which occurred in their home state. In light of the Bucks’ decision, the NBA decided to postpone the rest of Wednesday night’s NBA playoffs matches as well. Game 5 of each series has been planned to be rescheduled.
The NBA held a players meeting that ended in the Los Angeles Lakers and Clippers stating that they wish to boycott the remainder of the NBA season. The Lakers’ LeBron James has made it clear that he wants the owners to be more involved in their response to the shootings as he, himself, has voiced his opinion repeatedly against police brutality. The NBA will hold another meeting following Wednesday’s postponements to discuss the future of the 2020 NBA season.
On the football side, the NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that he “wished we had listened earlier” to what Colin Kaepernick brought to attention when he began protesting during the national anthem in 2016.
“It is not about the flag,” Goodell says. “These are not people who are unpatriotic.” Goodell offered an apology to Kaepernick for the league’s response to his protest.
The MLS decided to call off all remaining matches for the day in solidarity with the nationwide protests as well. A statement issued by the league said, “The entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless shooting of Jacob Blake and events in Kenosha.”
The statement went on to say, “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.”
The MLB issued a statement as well that showed its support of players’ decisions not to partake in their ball games. The statement finished by saying, “Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”
Tennis star Naomi Osaka pulled out of the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in protest as well. Osaka said in a post: “Before I am an athlete, I am a Black woman”.
These powerful statements have unified athletes across America who hope to bring about change in America and put an end to racism. On Wednesday, August 26, 2020, games in a total of four leagues were boycotted or postponed, which is unprecedented in sports history. It is evident that change will not occur overnight, but coming together and boycotting major events is a revolutionary step being taken by athletes and seen by fans around the world.