(CNN)Across the sports world, athletes took a stand for Black Lives Matter on Wednesday night by holding an unprecedented wildcat strike and refusing to play their regularly scheduled games.
The decision started with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks and stemmed from the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. The stand quickly spread across a number of sports — from basketball courts in Florida to baseball diamonds in California to soccer fields in Atlanta and Seattle and even into the broadcast booth, where TNT’s “Inside the NBA” analyst Kenny Smith took off his mic and walked off stage.But the issue is bigger than Jacob Blake or George Floyd or Breonna Taylor. Malcolm Jenkins of the NFL’s New Orleans Saints positioned the protests as a response to the systemic racism baked into America, including police violence, cycles of incarceration, and the plunder of generational wealth.”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.”Here’s a look at the teams and athletes who pulled back in order to have their voices be heard.Read MoreNBA Photos: The sports world has been taking a standThe Washington Mystics pay tribute to Jacob Blake after their WNBA game was postponed in Palmetto, Florida, on August 26.Hide Caption 1 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standA grounds crew covers the field at San Francisco’s Oracle Park after a Major League Baseball game was postponed on August 26.Hide Caption 2 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standThe Milwaukee Bucks make a statement to the media after boycotting a playoff game on August 26.Hide Caption 3 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standNBA superstar LeBron James has been one of the most outspoken athletes in recent months. “Having two boys of my own and me being African American in America and to see what continues to happen with the police brutality towards my kind, continue to see what goes on with just the (unjust), it’s very troubling. It’s very troubling,” James told Turner Sports’ Jared Greenberg. “My prayers go to (the Blake) family, and hopefully we can have some change.” Hide Caption 4 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standDuring a practice round for the BMW Championship, pro golfer Cameron Champ used his shoes to show his support for Blake and the Black Lives Matter movement.Hide Caption 5 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standDoc Rivers, head coach of the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers, became emotional while talking about the Blake shooting and the Republican National Convention. “All you hear is Donald Trump and all of them talking about fear,” Rivers said. “We’re the ones getting killed. We’re the ones getting shot. We’re the ones who were denied to live in certain communities. We’ve been hung. We’ve been shot.”Hide Caption 6 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a stand”End racism” banners are shown in Toronto’s Scotiabank Arena before an NHL playoff game on August 26.Hide Caption 7 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standDetroit Lions defensive end Trey Flowers addresses the media with his teammates outside their practice facility on August 25. The Lions canceled their practice in light of the Blake shooting, and they discussed the incident in a team meeting that lasted hours. “We’re going to spread our message; we’re going to do it as a team,” Flowers said. “We understand that somebody’s going to try to skew the narrative … get the message lost, but we’re going to stay focused on the topic.”Hide Caption 8 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standA Real Salt Lake fan sits in the stands after the Major League Soccer team had its game postponed on August 26.Hide Caption 9 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standNASCAR driver Bubba Wallace tweeted this selfie before a Cup Series race in Talladega, Alabama, on June 22. Fellow drivers and pit crew members walked alongside Wallace’s car to show their support for him. Wallace, the only Black driver in NASCAR’s top circuit, has been an outspoken advocate of the Black Lives Matter movement. Hide Caption 10 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standThe Black Lives Matter protests haven’t been limited to just North America. Here, professional soccer players from Aston Villa and Sheffield United take a knee as their match kicked off in Birmingham, England, on June 17. Premier League teams sported the words “Black Lives Matter” on the back of their jerseys when their seasons resumed.Hide Caption 11 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standFormula One champion Lewis Hamilton raises his fist before a race in Northampton, England, on August 9.Hide Caption 12 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standMatt Dumba of the Minnesota Wild kneels during the US National Anthem as it is played before an NHL game in Edmonton, Alberta, on August 1. Dumba, a member of the Hockey Diversity Alliance, gave a short speech before kneeling. He is circled by members of the Edmonton Oilers and the Chicago Blackhawks, who were about to play on the first day of the NHL’s return.Hide Caption 13 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standSoccer players from PSG and Lyon take a knee before a Champions League semifinal in Bilbao, Spain, on August 26.Hide Caption 14 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standBeach volleyball player April Ross wears a temporary Black Lives Matter tattoo during a match in Long Beach, California, on July 19.Hide Caption 15 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standTennis players Dan Evans and Kyle Edmund join match umpire James Keothavong in taking a knee in London on June 28.Hide Caption 16 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standCricketers with the Kent Spitfires take a knee during a match in Canterbury, England.Hide Caption 17 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standFormula One driver Kimi Raikkonen wears an “end racism” shirt before a race in Barcelona, Spain, on August 16.Hide Caption 18 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standMembers of the Trinbago Knight Riders kneel before a cricket match in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago.Hide Caption 19 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standThe Washington Nationals observe a moment of silence before Major League Baseball’s opening game on July 23. Their opponents, The New York Yankees, also took a knee, and the initials BLM were on the pitcher’s mound for the game.Hide Caption 20 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standMajor League Soccer players participate in a pregame ceremony before the league’s restart on July 8.Hide Caption 21 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standHouston Dynamo goalkeeper Cody Cropper warms up in a Black Lives Matter T-shirt on August 25.Hide Caption 22 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standThe Boston Red Sox Foundation put this sign behind Fenway Park’s famous “Green Monster” outfield wall.Hide Caption 23 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standRugby players from Bath and Northampton show their support before a game in Northampton, England.Hide Caption 24 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standKansas City outfielder Jorge Soler catches a ball in front of a George Floyd sign in Minneapolis on August 15.Hide Caption 25 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standA Houston Dash player wears a Black Lives Matter armband before a NWSL match in Herriman, Utah, on July 17.Hide Caption 26 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standAfter winning the Champions League, Bayern Munich defender David Alaba wears a shirt that says “Black Lives Still Matter.”Hide Caption 27 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standA Black Lives Matter sign is seen during a Major League Soccer match in Harrison, New Jersey, on August 24.Hide Caption 28 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standMembers of the San Antonio Spurs huddle before a game against Sacramento on July 31.Hide Caption 29 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standKilmarnock manager Alex Dyer, second from right, takes a knee before a soccer match in Glasgow, Scotland.Hide Caption 30 of 31 Photos: The sports world has been taking a standMembers of the Orlando Magic and Brooklyn Nets kneel during the National Anthem before the start of an NBA game on July 31.Hide Caption 31 of 31The Milwaukee Bucks did not emerge from their locker room before the scheduled tip at 4 p.m. as they decided to refuse to play their playoff game.Soon after, the NBA announced it would postpone Game 5 of three different playoff series — the Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers.The postponed games have not yet been rescheduled, and the entire NBA playoffs now hangs in the balance.Strikes are banned under the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, which means the Bucks players broke their own contract in order to protest racial injustice and police violence. In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Bucks players said they are “calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable. “
Full statement from the Milwaukee Bucks: pic.twitter.com/jjGEyVcCmB
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) August 26, 2020 “The past four months have shed a 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,” they said in a statement.”Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.”The Los Angeles Lakers also offered a statement in support of the players’ decision.”Eighty percent of NBA players are Black men. We cannot love them for the joy and entertainment that they bring to the world, yet sit in silence and fail to use our platforms and resources to amplify their voices when they demand the justice and equality that America has promised us all, but denied Black people for too long,” the Lakers said.WNBAElizabeth Williams of the Atlanta Dream said WNBA players were standing in solidarity with “our brothers in the NBA.”Representing the six teams slated to play on Wednesday, Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams announced that WNBA players were standing in solidarity with “our brothers in the NBA” and also would not play. The ESPN2 broadcast showed players from the six teams scheduled to take the court in locked arms and kneeling while wearing shirts spelling out Jacob Blake’s name. The WNBA announced that the three games scheduled for the evening had been postponed.MLBThe words ‘Black Lives Matter’ are displayed on the digital screen after the postponement of the game between the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers Wednesday.Three MLB games were postponed: Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants.”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,” a league statement says. “Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”Athletes across US sports take a stand, as games are called off in solidarity with Bucks' boycottThe Reds and Brewers were to play in Milwaukee.”The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight’s baseball game,” they said in a joint statement. “With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression.”The Mariners also unanimously voted to not play their scheduled game against the Padres, Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon said in a tweet.“There are serious issues in this country,” Gordon wrote. “For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal. This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight”MLSInter Miami midfielder Lee Nguyen exits the field after Inter Miami and Atlanta United players decided not to play.Five Major League Soccer games scheduled to take place on Wednesday night were postponed, the league announced.”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,” MLS said. “We will continue to work without players, our clubs and the broader soccer community to harness our collective power to fight for equality and social justice.”TennisTennis superstar Naomi Osaka announced Wednesday that she will not play in the Western & Southern Open semifinals on Thursday. “Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach,” she wrote.Later on Wednesday, after Osaka’s post, it was announced that the Western & Southern Open would pause tournament play on Thursday, resuming on Friday.By Thursday, a statement by her management team to The New York Times indicated she planned to play Friday instead.”They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement,” Osaka said. She also thanked the WTA and the tournament for their support.A WTA spokesperson tells CNN that Osaka did not officially withdraw from the Western & Southern Open on Wednesday.NHLThe NHL’s Stanley Cup Playoffs, however, continued Wednesday with two games.Before the start of Game 3 of the second-round series between the Tampa Bay Lightning and Boston Bruins, there was a moment of reflection for racism in response to the Blake shooting.
400 Bad Request
400 Bad Request