After the boycott in the NBA (the end of the season is imminent), games have also been canceled in other American sports leagues in protest against the shooting of the black man Jacob Blake by police officers in the American state of Wisconsin.
Among others, tennis player Naomi Osaka, who had to play the semi-finals of the WTA tournament in Cincinnati against Belgian Elise Mertens, is absent. The tournament has come to a halt today. Emma Meesseman has also made herself heard.
The WNBA player, who played champion with the Washington Mystics last season, reacted to the news. “Never thought I would paint bullet holes on the back of a T-shirt. 7 gunshots in the back. This happened to a human being in real life. A Black Man. How many more?” Says the Belgian Cat.
Ariel Atkins, coach of the Mystics: “This is not all about basketball. We are not just basketball players. We are going to say what to say.”
As in the NBA, the duels in the women’s basketball league are canceled. “We show solidarity with our brothers in the NBA,” the players said in a statement.
The Milwaukee Bucks basketball players refused to play their fifth playoff game on Wednesday due to the incident in which police officers shot black man Jacob Blake in the back. Following that incident, protests and disturbances have broken out in the city since Sunday, with two deaths in the night from Tuesday to Wednesday.
After the boycott, the NBA decided to postpone all three games that would be played on Wednesday. According to American sources, the Lakers and Clippers would even agree to stop playing this season.
In Major League Soccer, five of the six scheduled games were not played on Wednesday because the footballers supported the boycott of the Bucks.
In the MLB, some baseball players refused to play in the games between the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers, and the San Diego Padres against the Seattle Mariners. The matches have been postponed. “Given the pain in the communities in Wisconsin and beyond after the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decision of some players not to play tonight,” the MLB leadership said in response.
Courts in New York remain empty
Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka also refuses to play in protest against police violence. On Twitter, she announced that she would be withdrawing from the WTA Western & Southern Open in New York, where the two-time grand slam winner would face the Elise Mertens in the semi-final. “As a black woman, I feel that there are much more important issues that require attention,” Osaka said in a statement on Twitter.
The Cincinnati tennis tournament is also suspended for a day in protest. The courses of Flushing Meadows in New York, where the Western & Southern Open is played due to the coronavirus, will remain empty on Thursday. The tournament will resume on Friday. The US Open will start in New York next week.
Thus, the Milwaukee Bucks were the first NBA team to decline to play after the restart. The Orlando players still came on the field to warm up but also went back to the dressing room. With a win, the Bucks, from reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, advanced to the semi-finals in the Eastern Conference. But that does not seem to be a priority for the team at the moment, but the fight against inequality is.
Jon Horst, the team manager of Milwaukee, already told the journalists present that they “can stay here for a while”. Afterward, the players, led by Bledsoe and Hill, came out with a statement: “We are tired of the murders and the injustice. Despite calls for change, there has been no action so far. That is why our focus today cannot be on basketball.”
Tonight’s other games have now also been postponed as the teams follow the example of the Bucks. It concerns the following duels: LA Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder. Lakers star LeBron James also tweeted. “F*CK THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT,” he writes.
Kawhi Leonard (Clippers) and Lebron James (Lakers) left the players meeting prematurely last night. They prefer not to finish this season at all. A new meeting is scheduled for today. The games are now being postponed and will be played at a later date, the NBA confirmed. Not an easy task in a crowded play-off schedule.
Statements from Buck:
The Houston Rockets players get back on the bus: