The NBA postponed playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night (8/26) after players sat out of the games in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake by police, CNN reports. A statement from the NBA reads, "The NBA and the National Basketball Players Association today announced that in light of the Milwaukee Bucks' decision to not take the floor today for Game 5 against the Orlando Magic, today's three games -- Bucks vs. Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers -- have been postponed. Game 5 of each series will be rescheduled."
The Milwaukee Bucks, based out of Blake's home state of Wisconsin, began the strike during their scheduled game against the Orlando Magic. "Some things are bigger than basketball," Bucks Senior Vice President Alex Lasry tweeted. "The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change."
Bucks owners Marc Lasry, Wes Edens and Jamie Dinan released this statement:
We fully support our players and the decision they made. Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them. The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue to stand alongside them and demand accountability and change.
As Huffington Post points out, Bucks player Sterling Brown has experienced police brutality himself, having been arrested, and having a taser used on him in 2018. Officers kneeled on his neck as they tased him, and Brown said he was offered $400,000 by the city to keep quiet about the incident.
Other players and coaches reacted to Blake's shooting as well, including Doc Rivers, head coach for the Los Angeles Clippers, and LeBron James.
Sportswriter Jared Diamond reports that the MLB teams Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds have also decided not to play their scheduled game tonight:
UPDATE: ESPN writer Jeff Passan reports that another MLB game, the Seattle Mariners vs the San Diego Padres, has now been postponed, as well:
As of this post, the Yankees are scheduled to still play game two of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves tonight (update: they did play).
UPDATE: As CBS Sports reports, the list of postponed games is now up to 14, and also includes WNBA and MLS games:
NBA: Orlando Magic vs. Milwaukee Bucks (Game 5 -- first round)
NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets (Game 5 -- first round)
NBA: Portland Trail Blazers vs. Los Angeles Lakers (Game 5 -- first round)
WNBA: Washington Mystics vs. Atlanta Dream
WNBA: Los Angeles Sparks vs. Minnesota Lynx
WNBA: Connecticut Sun vs. Phoenix Mercury
MLB: Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers
MLB: Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres
MLB: Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants
MLS: Atlanta United vs. Inter Miami
MLS: FC Dallas vs. Colorado Rapids
MLS: Real Salt Lake vs. Los Angeles FC
MLS: San Jose Earthquakes vs. Portland Timbers
MLS: Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Seattle Sounders
The Celtics and Raptors are discussing sitting their next game out too.
UPDATE: Shams Carania, senior lead NBA insider for The Athletic, says, "Sources: NBA players in meeting today agreed to continue playing this postseason — but want to find new and improved ways to make social justice statements. Players expect games to resume this weekend." He also adds, "Every team besides Lakers and Clippers voted to continue playing. LeBron James said in meeting he want owners to be more involved/take action." The Lakers and the Clippers both voted to end the season entirely, according to ESPN.
NBA referees backed the players as well:
Musicians have taken to social media in support of the NBA and MLB, with Justin Vernon, Halsey, Diddy, Mark Ronson The Weather Station, Cadence Weapon, PUP guitarist Steve Sladkowski, TPOBPAH's Kip Berman, Pavement's Bob Nastanovich, Algiers, and others speaking out. Read their messages below.
Joe Biden, Barack Obama, and Hillary Clinton have backed the players' decisions as well, as has Whoopi Goldberg:
Meanwhile, Lebron James is launching a multimillion-dollar campaign to strengthen the number of poll workers in Black communities, ABC News reports:
The group, which bands together James, other star athletes, state election officials and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, is partnering to draft young activists to work at polling locations for November's general election across the southern and battleground states of Georgia, Michigan, Wisconsin, Florida, Ohio, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, South Carolina, and Texas.
"There are a lot of people who grew up in the inner city who are afraid to vote," James, the star of the Los Angeles Lakers, told reporters last week while wearing a "More Than a Vote" T-shirt inside the NBA's quarantined campus in Orlando, Florida. "We're giving everyone the tools, outlets."
Read more at ABC.
In related news, 17-year-old white male Kyle Rittenhouse was arrested after shooting and killing two protesters in Kenosha and injuring a third, The New York Times reports.
To help get involved in the fight against police brutality and systemic racism, here are some resources.