Pro sports teams take a stand against the police shooting of Jacob Blake and racial injustice

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An empty court and bench is shown following the scheduled start time in game five of the Eastern Conference First Round between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic during the 2020 NBA Playoffs at AdventHealth Arena at ESPN Wide World Of Sports Complex on August 26, 2020 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. The Milwaukee Buck have boycotted game five reportedly to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports.

More than a dozen games from Thursday night were postponed across professional sports. Basketball, baseball, soccer, and tennis — athletes all refused to play. This followed days of protests in Wisconsin and nationwide after a Kenosha police officer shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back. 

Today the NBA and WNBA players decided today to resume games soon.

Sportswriter Erica Ayala says, “What’s at stake here for the WNBA players is that in a lot of ways — even before entering the Wubble, as it’s affectionately known — WNBA players felt that the best way to get their message across for social justice was to actually enter into a single site and to have everyone on that united front. … I get the impression that that’s not the same conversation that NBA players have. … A lot of them wonder … if it makes sense to have NBA players playing games at all.”

She continues, “I think the conversation is a little bit different for WNBA players, who feel that this is an opportunity. They have a number of their games on national television, which unfortunately does not happen in a season that’s played under what we would consider now pre-coronavirus normal circumstances.” 

Credits

Guests:
Sopan Deb - basketball and culture writer for the New York Times, Erica Ayala - NYC-based podcaster and sportswriter

Host:
Madeleine Brand

Producers:
Sarah Sweeney, Michell Eloy, Amy Ta, Rosalie Atkinson, Brian Hardzinski, Angie Perrin, Kathryn Barnes