WNBA, NBA, MLB and Other Athletes Strike to Protest Jacob Blake Shooting
Several games were postponed as players asked for a deeper investigation into the police shooting of Blake.
On Wednesday night, NBA, WNBA, MLS, and MLB games were postponed as athletes refused to play to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, the 29-year-old man shot by a police officer in Wisconsin on Sunday. The strike started with the Milwaukee Bucks, who announced they would not play their game against the Orlando Magic; soon the rest of the night's NBA games were postponed as well.
The protest continued into Thursday, with the NBA postponing three scheduled playoff games, the WNBA postponing its three games, and the MLB postponing four. Tennis matches at the Western & Southern Open were also suspended and scheduled to resume Friday.
Malcolm Jenkins, cornerback for the New Orleans Saints, stated that the protest is a response to ongoing systemic racism in the United States, including police brutality, unlawful incarceration, and the wealth gap. "Until we continue to demand it, until 'Black Lives Matter' goes from just an idea or a goal that we're trying to attain as a society and is actually realized in the streets, we won't see any peace," he said. "And I think we'll continue to see athletes, entertainers as well as citizens, disrupt the status quo until that's recognized."
He also commended the WNBA for its players' activism, which has been at the forefront of the league's shortened season since it began in July. "The @WNBA has, and continues to lead this movement in sports," Jenkins tweeted. "We all need to listen to them more. They’ve been educated, organized, and committed long before any of us."
Strikes are banned under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, which means the players broke their contracts for the protest. The postponed games have not yet been rescheduled, but according to the league's executive vice president, management and players have been discussing a return for the weekend.
"The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities," the Bucks said in a statement on Wednesday. "Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings. Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball."