1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

US athletes boycott matches over Jacob Blake shooting

August 27, 2020

Several star US athletes have chosen not to play in protest at the shooting of a Black man in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The walkout was backed by many teams and players, affecting NBA and tennis matches.

USA Wisconsin | James Blake: NBA verschiebt Playoff Spiel
Image: picture-alliance/ZUMA/Chicago Tribune/E. Hooley

Many sporting events across the US have been postponed, as athletes showed solidarity with protests at the police shooting of Jacob Blake at point-blank range.

Blake was shot seven times in the back by police in the Wisconsin city of Kenosha, as he opened the door of a car. The shooting led to successive nights of protests that saw two protesters shot dead by a gunman carrying a semi-automatic rifle.

The teenage suspect has since been arrested. 

Kenosha unrest: DW's Stefan Simons reports

Read moreWisconsin: Gunfire erupts, leaving 2 dead in protest-hit Kenosha

In basketball, the Milwaukee Bucks led the protests against the shooting in their home state by refusing to play a first-round series game against the Orlando Magic. The no-show prompted the National Basketball Association (NBA) to call off two other games.

"Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball," said the Bucks in a statement.

Former US President Barack Obama took to Twitter to praise the decision.

The tennis world was also affected when two-time Grand Slam winner Naomi Osaka announced her withdrawal from the WTA Western and Southern Open semifinals. She had been due to play on Thursday.

"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.

Three Major League Baseball games were postponed in a show of support by players. Games between the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers, the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres, and the Los Angeles Dodgers and the San Francisco Giants were put on hold just hours before they were due to start.

Read moreUS: Wisconsin governor declares emergency ahead of new protests 

Meanwhile, five Major League Soccer matches were postponed as footballers made a collective statement about racial injustice. In a tweeted club statement, LA Galaxy said it supported the decision of players not to take part in the side's clash with the Seattle Sounders.

Blake, 29, is recovering and conscious, but his lawyers say a "miracle" would be needed for him to walk again. 

The two officers involved have been suspended with calls for the pair to be fired and charged.

Read moreWisconsin: National Guard deployed after Kenosha shooting, suspect arrested 

rc (AP, AFP, dpa, Reuters)