Atlanta Dream, Atlanta United call off Wednesday games to protest shooting of Jacob Blake

In a sign of solidarity with other teams across the country, two of Atlanta’s sports teams announced they were sitting out their games Wednesday night to protest the shooting of a Wisconsin man by police.

Jacob Blake was walking away from police and went to his car when an officer shot him seven times in the back.

Officer Rusten Sheskey shot Blake, 29, while holding onto his shirt after officers first unsuccessfully used a taser and as Blake leaned into his vehicle during an incident Sunday evening, the agency’s news release said.

[READ: Renee Montgomery sitting out Atlanta Dream season to focus on social justice reform]

State agents later recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of the vehicle, a release said. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.

His family announced Tuesday evening that Blake is unlikely to walk again.

The shooting has sparked nights of protests across the country and here in Atlanta.


Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks announced the team was boycotting Game 5 of their NBA playoff game with the Orlando Magic in response to the shooting.

The decision prompted the NBA to cancel all three games scheduled for Wednesday night. The other games pitted the Houston Rockets against the Oklahoma City Thunder, and the Los Angeles Lakers and the Portland Trail Blazers.

“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.”

By Wednesday night, Atlanta’s WNBA team, the Atlanta Dream, followed suit showing solidarity with their male colleagues in the NBA.

Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams read a statement on behalf of the team during an interview with ESPN.

“What we have seen over the last few months, and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake is overwhelming. And while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep the focus on the issues and demand change,” Williams said. “These moments are why it’s important for our fans to stay focused, hear our voices, know our hearts and connect the dots from what we say to what we do.”

The statement encouraged Dream fans to vote and demand “leaders stop with the empty words and do something.”

“This is the reason for the 2020 season. It is in our DNA. We have been saying her name. We have been lifting the names of Black and brown women whose murders have been forgotten,” Williams read. “We will continue to use our platform to speak of these injustices that are still happening and demand action for change.”

Later in the evening, Atlanta United appeared to be running warm-ups on the field when Channel 2′s Alison Mastrangelo started to get word that the game against Inter Miami FC may be called off.

A short time later, the teams made it official, standing on the field in solidarity with other sports teams across the country.

Atlanta United also released a statement on social media, saying:

“We stand in solidarity with the Black community, with our players, our city and our fans in the fight against injustice. We must use our voices to be the change.”

Mastrangelo said it remains unclear when the teams will reschedule the games.

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