The Milwaukee Bucks’ decision not to play today set off a domino effect that inspired the Lakers, other NBA teams, and now other leagues to peacefully protest.
Around noon Pacific Time, the Milwaukee Bucks, the favorites to win the Eastern Conference and perhaps face off against either the Lakers or the Clippers in the NBA Finals, remained in their locker room, refusing to take the court against the Orlando Magic.
Call it a strike, a boycott, a protest… the Bucks were sending a clear message that the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was too disturbing to ignore. And wearing Black Lives Matter shirts during warm-ups, or kneeling during the anthem, was not making much of a difference.
Shortly after Milwaukee and Orlando refused to take the floor, the NBA announced it was postponing all of today’s games.
The owners of the Milwaukee Bucks echoed the sentiments of the players.
Former NBA All-Star Chris Webber delivered an emotional statement on TNT about the importance of being a role model, the struggle of being a Black man and the frustration many feel at the slow pace of social change. “You are starting something for the next generation to take over,” he said.
Earlier, NBA great Kenny Smith, also emotional, pledged allegiance to the NBA players by walking off the TNT set.
The Lakers were scheduled to play later today. LeBron James, who has never been shy on Twitter, used all-caps to express his displeasure at the violence in Wisconsin.
No one expected the actions in Orlando to influence Major League Baseball. But it did. Shortly after the Bucks made their stand, Milwaukee’s baseball team, the Brewers, agreed not to play its scheduled game against the Cincinnati Reds today.
Milwaukee Brewer star Josh Hader, who has had a problematic past, said his team’s decision not to play tonight against the Reds is an important stance. “It’s not about the game, it’s more than that,” he said. “This is a time where we need to really not stay quiet.”
Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward spoke with his manager, and former teammate, David Ross to say he wouldn’t be playing tonight.
Moments ago, WNBA players from the Mystics, Dream, Lynx, Sun, Mercury and Sparks joined together to honor Jacob Blake. All of the WNBA games are being postponed tonight.
Washington Mystics guard Ariel Atkins reminded their fans, “We’re not just basketball players.”
Soon after the WNBA canceled their games, the Dodgers and the Giants left the field and announced they will not be playing tonight as well.
The Bucks, the team who had the courage to do it first, explained why:
A senior NBA writer of ESPN’s “The Undefeated” made it sound like there may not be any NBA games tomorrow:
Minutes ago, MLS announced it would not have games today.
LAFC midfielder Mark-Anthony Kaye confirmed the move:
Lakers co-owner Jeanie Buss gave support to her team’s decision not to play tonight.
The NFL has now joined in. The Washington, D.C. football team will not have practice on its field as a sign of unity with the other leagues.
Former USC head coach, and now the Seattle Seahawks head coach, calls this “a protest season.”
Former Dodger Matt Kemp (now with the Rockies) explains why he supports his fellow athletes.
The Dodgers manager explains that this is “a human issue,” not a political one.