Several Major League Baseball teams postponed their games on Wednesday in an apparent show of protest against the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The Milwaukee Brewers and the Cincinnati Reds were the first MLB teams to postpone their game, multiple sources reported. They made their decision not long after the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks staged a walkout during a playoff game against the Orlando Magic, also on Wednesday.
The San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers agreed Wednesday night that their game would also be postponed in solidarity with the protests.
Brewers pitcher and team union representative Brent Suter told reporters that both the Brewers and the Reds decided together not to play so they could focus on more important issues, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
“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,” Suter said.
Police officers in Kenosha shot Blake, 29, multiple times in the back after responding to a “reported domestic incident” on Sunday. Bystander video of the shooting shows officers with their guns drawn at Blake as he walks away with his back to them. As Blake approaches a parked SUV, opens the car door and leans in, police open fire on him.
The shooting prompted protests and civil unrest in Kenosha and other cities in the U.S., calling for an end to police shootings of Black people.
The protests add to the ongoing demonstrations that have taken place since May, in light of the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Elijah McClain ― all of whom were killed by police officers.
Dee Gordon of the Mariners said that his team voted unanimously against playing Wednesday night. The Mariners have the most Black players in the MLB, according to ESPN.
“These are serious issues in this country,” Gordon said in a tweet Wednesday.
“For me, and for many of my teammates, the injustices, violence, death and systemic racism is deeply personal,” he wrote. “This is impacting not only my community, but very directly my family and friends. Our team voted unanimously not to play tonight.”
In a statement late Wednesday night, the MLB said it respected players’ decisions not to play as an act of protest.
“Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight,” the statement read. “Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”
CLARIFICATION: An earlier version of this article said the game between the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants had been postponed before a final decision had been made.