US Basketball, Baseball, & Soccer Comes To Grinding Halt As Stars Strike Over Racial Injustice

Just hours after the Milwaukee Bucks NBA squad refused to take to the court for a playoff game, sporting teams and individual athletes across America have launched their own strikes in protest of police violence and racial injustice.

The movement represents one of the largest intra-sports strikes of all time.

Bucks players, who this morning stayed in their locker room instead of facing the Orlando Magic, chose to strike in protest of the police shooting of Black man Jacob Blake.

That protest has been echoed across the NBA. A total of four playoff games have now been postponed, with players leading discussions about how, or if, the season should continue.

The WNBA has taken similar measures, postponing three of Wednesday’s scheduled games as players resolved not to compete.

Players from the Milwaukee Brewers baseball team, whose home stadium sits roughly 65km south of where Blake was shot, organised with the competing Cincinnati Reds to sit out their scheduled MLB bout.

“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 Brewers said in a statement.

That MLB has now postponed three games across the country.

Here’s what the Brewers’ left fielder Ryan Braun had to say:

Major League Soccer also scrapped five matches at the request of players.

“We, THE PLAYERS, decided to not play tonight,” said Reggie Cannon, a defender for FC Dallas.

“Some things are bigger than soccer and things need to change. We are together in this no matter the color.”

Meanwhile, tennis superstar Naomi Osaka has withdrawn from her scheduled WTA Western & Southern Open semifinal against Elise Mertens, saying the “continued genocide of Black people at the hand of police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.”

Tournament organisers say play will resume Friday.

While the new NFL season is yet to begin, outlets including USA Today have pointed out that August 26, 2020 – the day the Bucks chose not to take to the court, in protest of police violence and racial injustice – was four years to the day since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began his peaceful protests.

A lot has changed since then, but so much remains the same.