LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — Several major sporting events were canceled Wednesday in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott Game 5 of their NBA playoff game with the Orlando Magic ESPN reported.
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.”
In major league baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers voted not to play their Wednesday night game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Seattle Mariners voted not to play their game against the San Diego Padres, KIRO-TV reported. The game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants was also canceled.
Meanwhile, all three WNBA games scheduled for Wednesday night were postponed, ESPN reported. The WNBA games involved the Atlanta Dream and the Washington Mystics, the Los Angeles Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx, and the Connecticut Sun and Phoenix Mercury.
The Magic players were on the court, and so were the referees. But when the 4 p.m. EDT start arrived, the Bucks remained in their locker room, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.
“We’re tired of the killings and the injustice,” Bucks guard George Hill told The Undefeated.
The Magic stayed on the court, taking shots, while the Bucks’ half of the court remained empty. Orlando players left the court with less than four minutes to go before the scheduled tip-off, ESPN reported.
Before the game, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer was asked if the team had planned a boycott.
“Our team has had lots of conversations and has a high level of concern and wants to continue to fight for racial justice, for social justice, for the end of excessive use of force by police, but I think it’s best for our team conversations and what we’re thinking and doing to stay private until if and when a player or myself decides something needs to be made public,” Budenholzer said.
The only Bucks to leave the locker room were George Hill and Khris Middleton, who went to a restroom and then returned. One member of the Milwaukee video staff came out and gathered some computers and wires that were set up on the team’s bench, ESPN reported.
“Today we stand united with the NBA Office, the National Basketball Players Association, the Milwaukee Bucks and the rest of the league condemning bigotry, racial injustice and the unwarranted use of violence by police against people of color,” the Magic said in a statement.
The decision not to play also spread to major league baseball, as the Brewers opted to sit out their Wednesday night game against the Cincinnati Reds, the Journal Sentinel reported. Brewers players met at Miller Park to discuss whether to play and voted to follow the Bucks’ lead, the newspaper reported.
“Our team and the Reds felt that with our community and our nation in such pain, tonight we wanted 100% of the focus to be on issues that are much more important than baseball,” Brewers reliever and union representative Brent Suter told the Journal Sentinel.
The Mariners-Padres and Dodgers-Giants games were also postponed.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts said the unrest in Wisconsin was “certainly personal.”
“My cousin got shot and killed. My father, who was one of the first Black men in his high school, got in many fights and threats,” Roberts told the Los Angeles Times. “But as far as the meeting, it was more of getting everyone together. Everyone was given the right to whatever thought, idea they had. But collectively, ultimately, we came to the consensus we shouldn’t play today. It’s more of us coming together as a group, the entire Dodger fanbase, which has such great bandwidth, to have these conversations. We’re baseball players. We love to play baseball. These guys are great at playing baseball. But we talk a lot about the game is bigger than all of us, and no bigger issue than right now, what’s going on.”
Blake, 29, was shot seven times, suffering wounds that severed his spinal cord and he also was shot in the stomach by police in Kenosha. Blake had to have his colon and small intestine removed during surgery and had damage to his kidney and liver.
Cox Media Group