By Marissa Lee.
As the fight for racial justice presses on following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we turn our eyes to the sporting world.
Players from nearly every big-time league are boycotting games to draw attention to police brutality. What started yesterday with the Milwaukee Bucks boycotting Game 5 of the NBA playoffs against the Orlando Magic has sparked an inter-athletic movement.
As stated on Twitter by Alex Lasry, vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, “Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up.” This unprecedented decision occurred from the ground up, as the players themselves decided to boycott the game. Soon enough, word spread throughout the league, prompting the remainder of the NBA bubble to cancel the day’s games in the midst of playoffs.
This NBA-led decision has sparked similar acts of protest in other sports. Pro tennis star Naomi Osaka temporarily decided that she would not compete in the semifinal match in the Western and Southern Open in New York City on Thursday August 27th. This prompted Western and Southern to postpone Thursday’s entire slate of games, before Osaka agreed to play the semifinal after all. A similar conclusion was made in the NBA, as it has been announced that the playoffs will resume after a decision was made by the players. Some teams, such as the Toronto Raptors, will still postpone their game. There have been talks of boycotting games in leagues such as Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer, however whether or not these games will resume is unclear.
Beyond just boycotting, athletes everywhere are showing their dedication to the cause on the court as well. Take, for example, WNBA players for the Washington Mystics, who sported shirts with seven bullet holes in the back, symbolizing the Jacob Blake shooting.
Although unprecedented, these acts of defiance do not come as major league sports’ first attempt at progress this year. After the George Floyd-fueled rallies in May, Nascar made the executive decision to ban the flying of the Confederate Flag across the league.
Although some of the boycotts were short lived, they succeeded in displaying one communal message about the change that needs to be made in the world today.
Homepage image via Complex