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NHL plays on while WNBA, NBA, MLB, MLS teams boycott games

A message missed

Orlando Magic v Milwaukee Bucks - Game Five Photo by Ashley Landis-Pool/Getty Images

Tonight, players of the NBA, WNBA, MLB, and MLS are boycotting games in protest of yet another heinous act of police violence against a Black man in America while the NHL plays on. Four of today’s 16 MLB games, including the Milwaukee Brewers’ game against the Cincinnati Reds, have been postponed due to boycotts. All of the NBA and WNBA games that were scheduled for tonight have been postponed, and MLS postponed five scheduled games.

On Aug. 23, Jacob Blake was shot multiple times in the back by an officer in Wisconsin while he was returning to his vehicle, where his three children were waiting for him. Blake’s attorney has stated that he was deescalating a fight between two other people before officers arrived on the scene, tased him, and subsequently shot him in the back seven times.

It is a story that is tragically and revoltingly familiar in the United States of America.

Tonight, the players of the Milwaukee Bucks led the way with their boycott of their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Other teams followed suit. The Bucks’ statement is essential reading for every American sports fan.

The players of the WNBA did not hesitate to stand beside them and issued a powerful statement of their own.

“What we have seen over the past 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. 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.” — Elizabeth Williams of the WNBA’s Atlanta Dream.

The NHL’s decision to play on — following a statement to end racism and stand up for social justice before tonight’s game between the Boston Bruins and the Tampa Bay Lightning — feels woefully inadequate following large signs that read “We Skate For Black Lives” when play in the bubbles in Toronto and Edmonton began. It feels like a message missed following Matt Dumba’s moving speech on Aug. 1 where he stated, “Hockey is a great game, but it could be a whole lot greater.”

It’s time to listen. It’s time for change. Black Lives Matter.

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