United States sports people oppose police brutality

This 25 August 2020 video from the USA says about itself:

LeBron James is speaking out on the shooting of Jacob Blake. Rick Strom breaks it down.

Translated from Dutch NOS radio today:

Wave of protest in American sports against police brutality

The refusal of the Milwaukee Bucks basketball players to continue playing games as long as US police violence against black people continues has sparked a chain reaction in the United States sports world.

The Bucks decided on Wednesday evening not to play the fifth game in the playoff series against Orlando Magic after a black man was shot by police in the town of Kenosha, just south of Milwaukee.

Besides being a statement against racist police violence, not playing may also save players’ and their families’ health and lives as long as there is a big COVID-19 pandemic in the USA.

Last Sunday, Jacob Blake, a black man from Kenosha, Wisconsin, was shot by police during his arrest. Blake was shot seven times in the back. It is the second incident this summer in which police brutality against a black citizen leads to riots in the US.

In May, George Floyd died in Minneapolis after a crackdown by policemen, prompting protests across the country. The Black Lives Matter movement, which had already emerged, gained significance through that event, resulting in worldwide demonstrations.

‘More important matters deserve attention’

In the hours after the Bucks decision, baseball association MLB, women’s basketball association WNBA and football [soccer] association MLS announced that several games will be cancelled and tennis star Naomi Osaka announced that she will not play for the time being.

Osaka, who, as a child of a Haitian father and Japanese mother, feels strongly connected with the black population, also took a stand. “I am a tennis player, but primarily a black woman, there are more important things that deserve attention right now,” she said on Instagram.

Players of Los Angeles Football Club make statement after their Real Salt Lake match was cancelled. Getty Images photo

The NBA also decided to cancel Wednesday’s two other games in the playoffs (Houston Rockets-Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trail Blazers).

Also in the MLB (three games) and MLS (five games) was not played. Kelvin Leerdam, former player for Feyenoord and Vitesse and now active for Seattle Sounders, was outspoken on the matter. “As an athlete, you live in a bubble, but we wanted to show everyone that we see what is happening and that it affects us too. These are difficult times, but we have to take a stand.”

Two of the three games in the WNBA were about to start when it was announced that they would not be played.

For the WNBA game between Washington Mystics and Atlanta Dream, the players of the Mystics made a statement by wearing shirts with seven bullet holes on the back.

Washington Mystics' anti-police brutality statement, Getty Images

Ice hockey association NHL decided not to cancel the three scheduled play-off matches, much to the annoyance of Evander Kane, a black player of the San Jose Sharks.

He said on Twitter:

Japan’s Osaka, who grew up in the US, and earlier in the day won her quarter-final match at the WTA tournament in New York against Estonian Anett Kontaveit, announced after her match that she would not play in the semi-finals.

“I don’t expect much to change if I don’t play, but if I can start a conversation in this predominantly white sport, I see it as a step in the right direction,” said Osaka.

After Osaka’s decision, the organization of the Western & Southern Open announced that it has postponed all games until Friday. Whether Osaka will still play then is not known.

3 thoughts on “United States sports people oppose police brutality

  1. Pingback: Racism, anti-racism, worldwide | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: Racism, news update | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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