Taking a stand and taking a knee

Maddie Morelli, Sports Editor

It has reached over 100 days of protests in multiple cities, with the chants of “Black Lives Matter!” still ringing loudly in every corner of the nation. However, something unprecedented has happened:professional sports organizations are actually postponing events because of athletes’ refusal to play. For the first time in history, a strike for racial justice has occurred within the pro-sports world. 

On August 23, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a man named Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by Kenosha Police Department. Police brutality has always been a major issue within the United States, but the murders of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor  garnered national attention, causing protests to spark like never before. The MLB, NBA, WNBA, NHL, and MLS, have all postponed games due to the racial injustice that is plaguing our nation. 

According to NPR, the Milwaukee Bucks were the first team to refuse to play. The Bucks had been scheduled to play the Orlando Magic, however, the players took a stand in light of these events. Soon after the Bucks, every other team in every league suspended games. The MLB, NHL, MLS, WNBA, and of course, the NBA suspended games for multiple days while notable athletes spoke out. 

According to CNN, Mets player Dominic Smith said, “I think the most difficult part is to see people still don’t care. And for this to continuously happen it just shows just the hate in people’s heart and that just sucks. Being a Black man in America is not easy.” 

Most leagues are in a “bubble,” meaning they are only allowed to interact with their teammates and coaches, in order to try and prevent the spread of coronavirus. Many athletes expressed that due to these “bubbles” they are unable to truly be activists at this pivotal time in history. They are unable to attend protests, speak to politicians, etc.. This was also a major reason they took part in this strike. It was a way to use their major platforms, and speak out on what they believe in, while still following the safety and health guidelines of their respectable leagues. Many athletes made statements, calling for justice and reform of the system that allows these killings to take place with no repercussions. 

On August 26, players Sterling Brown and George Hill gave a statement to the press, calling people to action: “When we take the court and represent Milwaukee and Wisconsin, we are expected to play at a high level, give maximum effort and hold each other accountable. We hold each other to that standard, and in this moment we are demanding the same from lawmakers and law enforcement. We are calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand for the officers to be held accountable. For this to occur, it is imperative for the Wisconsin state legislature to reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform. We encourage all citizens to educate themselves, take peaceful and responsible action and remember to vote on Nov. 3.”

Since August 27, games in every league have resumed, however, athletes are still standing for what they believe in by taking a knee during the national anthem. The strike may have stopped, but the push for justice and reform has not.