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NHL & NBA Cancel Playoffs In Solidarity With Kenosha Protesters, MLB Joins In

By Sandy Malone and Tom Gantert

New York, NY – The National Hockey League (NHL) announced that Thursday night’s playoff games had been postponed, following the lead of numerous other professional athletes who refused to play to condemn the shooting of 29-year-old Jacob Blake by Kenosha police.

The Philly Voice reported the NHL had caved to pressure from the Hockey Diversity Alliance to cancel its Aug. 26 games after numerous National Basketball Association (NBA) teams and Major League Baseball (MLB) teams cancelled games a night earlier.

Even National Football League (NFL) players found a way to make a statement while in the off-season.

The Detroit Lions canceled their football practice on Tuesday to protest the shooting, according to ESPN.

On Wednesday, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds cancelled their game scheduled to be played in Milwaukee, according to ESPN.

“Our team and the Reds felt that with our community and our nation in such pain, tonight we wanted 100% of the focus to be on issues that are much more important than baseball,” said Brewers pitcher Brent Suter said, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

Then the Seattle Mariners announced they had cancelled their game against the San Diego Padres to protest the shooting in Kenosha.

All three NBA playoff games that were scheduled for Aug. 26 were cancelled, ESPN reported.

The games between Milwaukee and Orlando, Houston and Oklahoma, and the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland were postponed but have not yet been rescheduled.

However, playoff games resumed on Thursday after that one-night intermission.

Milwaukee Bucks’ Senior Vice President Alex Lasry tweeted his support for the protest.

“Some things are bigger than basketball,” Lasry posted. “The stand taken today by the players and (the organization) shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

In Milwaukee, Brewers’ manager Craig Counsell condemned the shooting, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.

“A black man was shot, and his life is in peril, and frankly it shouldn’t be,” Counsell said. “We’ve got a systemic problem that we need to address, and we all need to educate ourselves. Whether you agree or disagree with what I’m saying, I think it’s important that we continue to think, we continue to pursue policy change, we continue to act, because there’s violence happening that just absolutely should not be happening. And we can’t stay quiet about it.”

“But educate yourselves, and understand it as best you can,” he continued. “Understand points you don’t agree with. Sometimes it’s hard for us to do. It’s certainly hard for me to see any scope of the other side on this one, but educate yourselves. I think it’s all of our responsibility to do that.”

But professional athletes are facing some blowback from members of the public who don’t think an armed man with outstanding warrants for abusing the mother of his children should be given such honored attention.

The Wisconsin Department of Justice confirmed Wednesday that Blake was armed with a knife when he was shot on Sunday.

“During the investigation following the initial incident, Mr. Blake admitted that he had a knife in his possession,” a Wisconsin DOJ statement said. “DCI agents recovered a knife from the driver’s side floorboard of Mr. Blake’s vehicle. A search of the vehicle located no additional weapons.”

The incident that led to Blake’s shooting began just after 5 p.m. on Aug. 23 when officers responded to a call about a domestic disturbance at a home in the 2800-block of 40th Street in Kenosha.

The woman who called 911 told dispatchers that Blake “isn’t supposed to be there and he took the complainant’s keys and is refusing to give them back,” the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

The dispatcher advised the responding officers that there was an alert for a wanted person at that address.

It turned out that Blake had a warrant from another domestic incident in May, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

He was wanted on charges of third-degree sexual assault, trespassing, and disorderly conduct in connection with domestic abuse that occurred at the same address, according to Newsweek.

The dispatcher advised the responding officers that there was an alert for a wanted person at that address.

Cell phone videos of the incident showed Blake fighting with Kenosha officers before he ran around to the driver’s door of his car with police following him, weapons drawn.

Blake ignored officers’ order to “drop the knife” and continued to lean into his car and an officer opened fire on him.

His father has said the multiple gunshots to his back left his son a paraplegic, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reported.

Written by
Tom Gantert

Tom Gantert graduated from Michigan State University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism. Tom started in the newspaper business in 1983. He has worked at the Jackson Citizen Patriot (Michigan), Lansing State Journal (Michigan), Ann Arbor News (Michigan), Vineland Daily-Journal (Michigan), North Hills News Record (Pennsylvania) and USA Today (Virginia). He is also currently the managing editor of Michigan Capitol Confidential, a daily news site of the Mackinac Center for Public Policy. Tom is the father of a Michigan State Police trooper.

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Written by Tom Gantert


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