Basketball and baseball teams from Milwaukee have called off games in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake last week.
Jacob Blake was shot seven times by police officer Rusten Sheskey on Sunday in Kenosha, close to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, igniting fresh protests over racial injustice and police brutality in the US.
Blake survived the shooting, but is now paralysed from the waist down, according to his father.
On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their National Basketball Association (NBA) play-off game against Orlando Magic by failing to appear on the court for their pre-game practice session at the NBA bubble in Walt Disney World, Florida.
The team’s boycott was confirmed when the Buck’s senior vice president, Alex Lasry, tweeted: “Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen.
“I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”
In a statement, the NBA said: “In light of the Milwaukee Bucks’ decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today’s three games… have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled.”
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Brewers Major League Baseball (MLB) game against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday was also postponed in the wake of the shooting, as was the match between the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres on the same day.
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The Brewers tweeted: “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.”
Dee Gordon from the Seattle Mariners, which has the most black players in the MLB, tweeted that the team had unanimously voted to boycott the game on Wednesday, in the hope that people “focus on the things more important than sports that are happening.”
Instead of watching us, we hope people will focus on the things more important than sports that are happening.
– Dee Strange-Gordon
— Dee Gordon (@FlashGJr) August 26, 2020
Five Major League Soccer games, due to be played on Wednesday, have also been postponed, amid the protests in the US.
Elsewhere, Japanese tennis player Naomi Osaka, has announced she has withdrawn from the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament in New York over the shooting, just hours after reaching the semi-finals of the competition.
In a statement, Osaka wrote: “As a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis.
“Watching the continued genocide of black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach… when will it ever be enough?”