The sports world came to a virtual stop yesterday when the Milwaukee Bucks decided to boycott Game 5 of their first-round NBA playoff series against the Orlando Magic, saying they wanted to draw attention to racial injustice and, specifically, the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
While team management was not in on the initial decision - the Bucks simply stayed in their locker room when the game was supposed to begin - Alex Lasry, the team's senior vice president, later tweeted, "Some things are bigger than basketball. 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."
The decision resulted in all of yesterday's NBA playoff games being postponed, as the players - all in the Florida "bubble" because of the pandemic - kept meeting; on the table, according to some reports, is a possible cancellation of the rest of the playoffs and season.
Axios Sports writes that while NBA players are familiar with activism, this is unprecedented: "They've gone off script. And in doing so, they've taken the conversation about sports' role in society to a place it's never quite been before."
And, there was a domino effect: in baseball, "the Milwaukee Brewers were the first team to pull the plug on their game. Later, the Seattle Mariners and L.A. Dodgers did the same. While the NBA and WNBA are no strangers to political activism, this type of stance is new in baseball."
In soccer, "though the night's first game between Orlando and Nashville was played as scheduled, the remaining five games were postponed as the players collectively decided not to take the field."
And in tennis, "after Naomi Osaka withdrew from the semifinals of the Western & Southern Open (scheduled for today), tournament organizers suspended all Thursday matches."