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Thursday, March 23, 2023

Major sporting events postponed as players protest Jacob Blake shooting

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Major US sporting events were called off on Wednesday as athletes protested against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last week.

Three NBA play-off games, three Major League Baseball matches, three WNBA fixtures and five Major League Soccer games were postponed after player-led actions in response to the shooting of African-American Blake and the civil unrest that has followed.

Tennis star Naomi Osaka also withdrew from her semi-final at the Western & Southern Open in New York, scheduled for Thursday, saying “before I am an athlete, I am a black woman”.

And her decision was followed with an announcement the tournament – the last warm-up for the US Open for both men and women – would be put on hold on Thursday.
Blake was shot on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin – 40 miles from Milwaukee – apparently in the back, and the incident was captured on phone video, igniting new protests over racial injustice in several cities.

Wednesday’s multi-sport response began when the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their play-off game against the Orlando Magic.

Los Angeles Lakers’ LeBron James (right) was among many athletes protesting over the shooting

Leading 3-1 and needing just one more win to move into the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Bucks did not emerge from their locker room for practice ahead of game five.

The NBA swiftly postponed its two other play-off games scheduled for Wednesday night between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers and the Houston Rockets and Oklahoma City Thunder.
Lakers talisman LeBron James tweeted: “F*** THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT”, while the Lakers later posted “#JusticeForJacobBlake”.

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