NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Professional athletes are taking a stand against social injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis.
The NBA playoffs were put on hold Wednesday before the players voted to resume the season, while athletes in the Tri-State Area also stood in solidarity, CBS2’s John Dias reported.
The NHL decided to postpone Thursday night’s games and multiple Major League Baseball games have been called off.
Teams and leagues nationwide have been dealing with how to properly handle the protests.
Some leagues have postponed all games, but baseball is allowing each team to make that decision.
RELATED STORY: Mets, Marlins Walk Off Field In Social Injustice Protest
The New York Mets’ approach Thursday night was unique.
The Mets and Miami Marlins ran on the field as scheduled, but instead of playing, they held a 42-second moment of silence on the eve of Jackie Robinson Day.
Then both teams walked off the field as the game was called, but not before leaving one memorable statement — draping a Black Lives Matter t-shirt across home plate.
“This is way bigger than baseball. This is life,” Mets first baseman Dominic Smith said.
The USTA paused their events. Major League Soccer and the WNBA canceled games, too.
Some WNBA players wore shirts with Blake’s name on them and seven bullet holes painted on their backs.
“This isn’t just about basketball. We aren’t just basketball players. And just because we are basketball players doesn’t mean that’s our only platform. We need to understand that when most of us go home, we still are Black, in the sense that our families matter,” said Ariel Atkins, of the Washington Mystics.
It’s a boycott for the sports history books.
When NBA players agreed to go to the Orlando bubble, it wasn’t just to restart the season; they wanted social reform.
“We are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids. We are terrified,” LeBron James said.
“Despite the overwhelming pleas for change, there has been no action. So, our focus today cannot be on basketball,” said a statement read by the players.
The league released a statement saying it is hopeful to resume playing Friday or Saturday.
The NBA issued the following statement pic.twitter.com/8xvdWFoq3C
— NBA (@NBA) August 27, 2020
Fans in the Tri-State Area are praising the players.
“They are Black men. A lot of them are fathers, sons. It makes sense for them to do it. It’s unfortunate that it took this long. They should have did it a long time ago with Colin Kaepernick,” said Javi Osei, of Bayonne, N.J.
The Nets tweeted:
— Brooklyn Nets (@BrooklynNets) August 27, 2020
“I’m a Brooklyn native. So, I was really proud of them,” said Tyrese Bennett, an avid Nets fan. “I feel like somebody gotta take a stand. They got the biggest platform, so why not?”
But, critics say the players should stick to sports.
“Everybody’s got a right to open their mouth. But, maybe not on the playing field,” one person told CBS2.
Watch John Dias’ Report Here:
It’s an unprecedented boycott with ripple effects.
Fourteen MLB games were postponed Wednesday, too.
“I think the most difficult part is to see, people still don’t care… For this to continuously happen, it just shows the hate in people’s heart,” said Smith.
— DOMINIC SMITH (@TheRealSmith2_) August 27, 2020
Though some of Smith’s teammates said they won’t kneel, they said they sympathize and are trying to listen and learn.
“I probably won’t. Just my personal decision to stand for the national anthem. That’s what I’ve always done, but I will be there with him and he knows that I support him,” said outfielder Michael Conforto.
The Jets were one of six NFL teams that canceled practice Thursday.
“This is definitely something that I don’t want, and a lot of my brothers in the locker room don’t want, swept under the rug. This is not a one day topic. Or when it happens, we get to talk about it. This is something real in our community that we’re dealing with. I’ll be dealing with for the rest of my life. My kids are going to deal with it,” said safety Bradley McDougald.
The Giants practiced Thursday after holding a 45 minute minute discussion on social injustice. Running back Saquan Barkley said the team has not ruled out the possibility of boycotting a game.
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