How The Protests In The NBA Sparked a Nationwide Postponement of Sporting Events



Brock Adams, Staff Writter

The killing of the African American man George Floyd ignited a global movement demanding for racial and social equality. After the previous killings of African American individuals including, Stephon Clark Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery, the death of George Floyd forced the United States into a period of civil unrest. Despite the protests taking place daily across the nation, another African American man, by the name of Jacob Blake was shot by law enforcement, further fueling the Black Lives Matter movement. 

While everyday citizens were protesting in the streets of major U.S cities, the Orlando Magic took to the floor for pre-game warm-ups before game five of their NBA playoff series with the Milwaukee Bucks. There was just one important piece missing, the opposing team. In the Wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old African American man who was shot seven times in the back by law enforcement, the Milwaukee Bucks elected to boycott game five of the series. The Orlando Magic mutually agreed to boycott, and no forfeit was put into effect; however, what soon transpired was something much larger than any sporting event. Upon the postponement of game five between the Bucks and the Magic, word spread throughout the NBA bubble, causing players to hold meetings amongst themselves and front office members. All games set for August 26, 2020, were rescheduled as the entire NBA decided to recognize the tragedy that occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The demonstrations made nationwide news, and soon protests began to take place amongst WNBA players. The WNBA decided to reschedule all games in response to the action taken by the NBA. Players made their way out on the court wearing shirts that displayed Jacob Blake’s name on the front along with seven dots on the back, symbolizing the seven shots fired at Blake by the police. 

As the day progressed, other major sports teams across the nation chose to postpone play, feeling as though it would be insensitive to compete and take attention away from the racial justice movement. The Milwaukee Brewers postponed their match against the Cincinnati Reds, and the MLB soon announced that they would reschedule the remainder of the day’s games. 

As NFL teams began preparations for the upcoming kickoff weekend two weeks away, teams including The Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos, Indianapolis Colts, Los Angeles Chargers, Green Bay Packers, Tennesse Titans, Washington Football Team, Chicago Bears, and New York Jets all canceled practices in response to the shooting of Jacob Blake. 

Athletes and organizations across all major league sports, including the NHL, MLS, and NASCAR refused to continue play. The sports world became dormant for 24 hours as athletes collectively used their platform to demand change within the nation’s law enforcement system. Sports always serve as a means to unite the country in times of despair, and our divided nation needs unity more than ever.