Professional sports events in the U.S., which were directly hit by COVID-19, are now facing another challenge following the shooting of a black man by a white police officer.
The National Basketball Association (NBA) secretariat canceled all three playoff quarterfinals scheduled on Thursday – Milwaukee Bucks vs. Orlando Magic, Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder, and Los Angeles Lakers vs. Portland Trail Blazers.
The Milwaukee Bucks stayed in their locker room before the fifth game scheduled to be held on Thursday in Disney World in Orlando without appearing on the court. Their opponents Orlando Magics also spent little time on the court before leaving. “A shooting of a black man took place near our home base. We cannot focus on basketball anymore,” said the Milwaukee Bucks, calling for strong legal action against the perpetrator. “We're tired of the killings and the injustice,” said the team’s guard George Hill. The team’s club also supported the players’ decision. Milwaukee, the biggest city in Wisconsin, is about 44 minutes away from Kenosha where the shooting took place.
The NBA introduced slogans against racial inequality, such as “Black Lives Matter,” to basketball courts and the back of players’ uniforms to prevent the reoccurrence of the George Floyd incident in May. Players are even more shocked by the fact that a similar incident took place again under the current circumstance.
The Major League Baseball (MLB) also canceled three out of 16 games scheduled on Thursday following the latest shooting. Same as the NBA, the Milwaukee Brewers decided to opt out of their home game against the Cincinnati Reds. “We respect the players’ decision to cancel today’s game. We will also try to get rid of racial discrimination,” said the team’s club.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) also canceled five games to be held on Thursday. In the Women's Tennis Association, Naomi Osaka who was scheduled to play in the semifinal of the Western & Southern Open dropped out saying that she is a black woman before an athlete.
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