Professional athletes across all U.S. sports leagues including the NBA, MLB, NHL, WNBA continue to take action with protests after games were canceled Wednesday in solidarity with the Milwaukee Bucks, who boycotted their playoff game in protest of the police shooting that seriously injured Jacob Blake in their home state of Wisconsin. This story was updated at 2:59 p.m. ET
When the Bucks decided to boycott, it spawned a trend of similar protests across American sports Wednesday night.
It continued Thursday. Even as NBA players voted to resume the playoffs this weekend after their protests, perhaps as early as Friday, according to ESPN, the NHL announced its playoff games were canceled Thursday, and the WNBA canceled its games for the second straight day. MLB teams that played Wednesday were boycotting on Thursday. The Athletics-Rangers game was postponed, and the Phillies-Nationals and Red Sox-Blue Jays games were expected to join them.
MLB, MLS, WNBA Join Protests In Solidarity With NBA
After the Bucks chose not to play, the NBA stated it would put off the Game 5s of all three postseason series scheduled for Wednesday, including those of the Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder and the Lakers-Trail Blazers. NBA players are not allowed to go out and start a protest outside their Orlando bubble, but at least they can raise awareness about the current situation the country is facing.
Within a few hours, other athletes joined in solidarity with the Bucks, as three WNBA, five Major League Soccer and three MLB games were canceled. This could turn into a snowball, and as time goes by, more teams will react in the same way.
While there has been talk of forcing an end to the NBA season in protest, that apparently won’t happen. Players on a number of teams spent Wednesday night talking about the issues and a possible season-ending boycott, and more talks were scheduled for Thursday morning, but the scales are tipped toward a return to action.
The Bucks Want To See Real Change
On Wednesday afternoon, the Bucks issued a statement and said they are demanding justice for Blake and are pushing so the police officers involved are held responsible. They added, “The past four months have shed light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings.”
The Bucks showed their frustration because they say no real action has been taken by the Wisconsin Legislature, and they urge them to address right away these problems of police brutality and criminal justice reform so terrible acts like these can be avoided in the future.
Other leagues, like MLB, and players like Atlanta Dream Elizabeth Williams showed their support for the NBA teams with protests. The WNBA stated that three games slated for the evening had been put off. As well, three baseball games were postponed: Cincinnati Reds-Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners-San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants.
Not All Players Were On-Board With The Bucks
Some NBA players present at Wednesday’s contests showed their frustration with the Bucks for the way they managed canceling the game against the Orlando Magic. The decision impacted the Magic and the four other teams slated to play on Wednesday, and what is more, neither the Magic nor the NBA Players Association was told ahead of time that the game was going to be called off. In fact, this was a communication problem.
Even though there is opposition to the decisions taken so far, most of the leagues support the pressure and protest. The MLB is deeply concerned about the events and said in a statement, “Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight.” The league added, “Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”