MLS players opt to postpone games in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake.
Breonna Taylor wasn’t the last. George Floyd wasn’t the last. Jacob Blake has to be the last.
On August 23, 2020, Jacob Blake was shot 7 times in the back by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin. Miraculously, he’s still alive, but how do you recover from that?
Change has not come, or at the very least it’s not happening fast enough. But professional athletes across the United States are using their platform to actively seek justice and change.
The NBA and WNBA have always been at the forefront of the fight for racial justice and equality, and they showed up again as the Milwaukee Bucks opted not to play on Wednesday in protest of the shooting of Jacob Blake. The rest of the NBA followed suit and a domino effect took place as sports leagues around the country, including the MLS and MLB, shut down.
As the earliest MLS game of the evening, Orlando City SC and Nashville SC played their game as scheduled, but the five other games were postponed as news of the NBA players taking a stand spread.
The MLS players have shown a commitment to fighting for racial justice and equality and combating systemic racism through the formation of the Black Players for Change organization, their powerful, pre-game statement at the MLS is Back tournament standing with fists raised, kneeling during the anthem, and wearing variations of Black Lives Matter shirts.
Though these acts moved me and gave me an enormous sense of pride in being black, I am not the target audience for these protests, and clearly actions need to be taken a step further to incite real change from our country’s leaders. The ripple effect of sports leagues shutting down across the country in a unified show of protest is huge, but what now? Like the NBA, the MLS is using this time to brainstorm the best plan of action going forward.
I imagine the Black Players for Change organization will be a huge part of the efforts to constructively confront those in power and force them to change legislation and hold the shooters accountable for their horrifying actions.
No one should have to fear for their life every day the way black people do in this country right now.
I wait with bated breath to see the results of the collaborative meetings happening now in the MLS and throughout the sports world. Now that they’ve captured the country’s attention with these game postponements, it’s imperative a plan is put in place while the country is still listening.