Story at a glance
- The NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The NBA later postponed the league’s remaining games for the day.
- The WNBA followed suit and some Major League Soccer and MLB teams canceled their games as well, while multiple NFL teams put off practice.
- Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of her semifinals match last Thursday in protest.
Retired tennis pro John McEnroe is praising professional athletes who use their platform to take a stand against racial injustice in the U.S.
During an interview with Footwear News this week, the seven-time men’s singles Grand Slam winner said the recent protests in the professional sports world makes him proud that he was once an athlete.
“I’m proud that the players — starting with the NBA and then backed up by other sports — that they’re trying to make a stand to try to deal with the racial injustice,” McEnroe told the outlet. “As an outsider looking in now, in a way, it makes me feel proud that I was once an athlete. And hopefully this time there will be some real change.”
Last week, the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks refused to take the court for their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The NBA later postponed the league’s remaining games for the day in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, in Kenosha, Wis.
The WNBA followed suit and some Major League Soccer and MLB teams canceled their games as well, while multiple NFL teams put off practice.
Professional tennis player Naomi Osaka pulled out of her semifinals match last Thursday in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.
“[B]before I am an athlete, I am a black woman. And as a black woman I feel as though there are much more important matters at hand that need immediate attention, rather than watching me play tennis,” Osaka said in a statement posted on Twitter. “I don’t expect anything drastic to happen with me not playing, but if I can get a conversation started in a majority white sport, I consider that a step in the right direction.”
Osaka went on to wear a mask bearing the name of Breonna Taylor this week for her first match in the U.S. Open. Taylor was killed in March her home by Louisville police who carried out a “no-knock” warrant. The officers returned gunfire after Taylor’s boyfriend fired a weapon because he believed intruders were entering the home.
The shooting of Blake triggered violent protests in the Milwaukee area as video of the incident circulated online.
The footage shows police in Kenosha trailing Blake with their weapons drawn and then shooting him at close range as he gets into an SUV. He remains hospitalized and is at least temporarily paralyzed from the waist down, according to his family.
An investigation into the circumstances of the shooting is ongoing.
Cities around the country have seen months of demonstrations against the treatment of Black Americans by law enforcement. The protests were sparked by the police killing of George Floyd during an encounter with Minneapolis police.