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The week of August 24, entire teams went on strike before the NBA playoffs. Photo: Getty Images

Sports cancel in solidarity with Black Lives Matter

Colin Kaepernick walked so sports teams could run.

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In 2016, Colin Kaepernick, then a quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, took a knee during the national anthem. The reason? To start a much needed conversation about police brutality against people of color and systemic oppression in the U.S. 

However, the reactions he received were negative. His small show of defiance did not sit well with some Americans and NFL teams reacted by refusing to sign him. 

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses Black people and people of color. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder," Kaepernick said in 2016.

Yet, four years later. Here we are. In the same spot. More violence. More protests. No answers.

But something has changed at least: more players who realize their power and privilege have also taken a stand.

The week of Aug. 24, entire teams have taken suit and decided to go on strike ahead of the NBA playoffs. 

The Milwaukee Bucks were the first to make the decision after the shooting of Jacob Blake on Aug. 23. Very quickly, the NBA announced postponing Game 5 of three playoff series — the Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, the Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers. 

The NBA is not the only sport that decided to stand in solidarity with Black Lives Matter. The WNBA, MLB, and MLS have also taken a stand to show their support. 

The WNBA postponed three of their games on Aug. 25. The league commissioner Cathy Engelbest said: “We know it’s a very emotional time for our players. They are struggling with what’s been happening in this country for months, if not years,” adding that the league supported the players' decisions not to play.

President Barack Obama also tweeted in support of the sports teams.

“It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values,” he wrote.

On sports channels like ESPN2, rather than showing the six teams scheduled to play, the channel showed various scenes of athletes locking arms and kneeling while wearing shirts that spelled out Jacob Blake.

The MLB statement read: “Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight. Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”

On Thursday, Aug. 26, NBA players had a meeting in the morning that is reported to resume the 2020 playoffs. 

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, though there is still more to be discussed, Thursday’s game is postponed, but the league plans to hit the courts on either Friday or Saturday of this week according to the NBA Executive Vice President Mike Bass. 

Meanwhile, the WNBA will keep postponing games.

 

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