At least five sports were affected by boycotts in the United States on Wednesday, as players refused to continue to participate in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Blake, an unarmed black man, was shot at least seven times in the back by a white police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin, adding to the trauma of recent shootings of other black people across America.
The boycotts began on Wednesday, when the Milwaukee Bucks refused to take to the court for game five of their first round NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic. This was in direct response to the fact that the shooting took place in their state of Wisconsin.
It was then reported shortly after that the other two games scheduled to be played on Wednesday between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets and the Portland Trailblazers and Los Angeles Lakers would also be boycotted.
Shortly after, the NBA announced that these games had been postponed.
The boycotts then continued in the WNBA, the MLS, the MLB.
Baseball franchise, Milwaukee Brewers, who are also based in Wisconsin also boycotted their MLB game against the Cincinnati Reds.
Tennis star Naomi Osaka, refused to play her semifinal match in the Western & Southern Open Tennis tournament saying “Before I am an athlete, I am a black woman.”
While some games were played in the MLS, there were some games that were affected by the boycott.
One of the loudest and most influential voices in the NBA, LeBron James, expressed his frustration in what some found to be a shocking tweet, saying, “F#@k THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT.”
Former NBA player and now television analyst and commentator Kenny Smith also stood with the NBA players. He walked off the set of the NBA on TNT saying, “As a black man, as a former player, I think it is best for me to support the players and just not be here tonight.”
Another major supporter of the boycott was former US President Barack Obama who tweeted, “I commend the players on the @Bucks for standing up for what they believe in, coaches like @DocRivers, and the @NBA and @WNBA for setting an example. It’s going to take all our institutions to stand up for our values.”
White baseball player Clayton Kershaw of the Los Angeles Dodgers also added his voice.
“As a white player on this team…how can we show support? What’s something tangible that we can do to help our Black brothers on this team? … We felt the best thing to do was to support that in not playing.”
Earlier in the week, Los Angeles head coach Doc Rivers in an emotional press conference tearfully said,
“It’s amazing to me why we keeping loving this country and this country does not love us back.”
There is real concern that the NBA season may not continue as the players on the Los Angeles Clippers and the Los Angeles Lakers teams, are said to be discussing boycotting the rest of the season.