These are the teams and athletes who refused to play in protest of the Jacob Blake shooting

The decision started with the NBA Milwaukee Bucks and stemmed from the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.


Across the sports world, athletes took a stand for Black Lives Matter on Wednesday night by refusing to play their regularly scheduled games.

The decision started with the NBA Milwaukee Bucks and stemmed from the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday. The stand quickly spread across a number of sports and even into the broadcast booth, where TNT's "Inside the NBA" analyst Kenny Smith took off his mic and walked off stage.

Here's a look at the teams and athletes who pulled back in order to have their voices be heard.


An unprecedented NBA walkout over racial injustice postponed a second day of the playoffs Thursday, although players pledged to finish the postseason even as they wrestled with their emotions about wanting to bring change in their communities.

For now, the basketball courts in the NBA's virus-free bubble at Disney World remained empty.

Strikes are banned under the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, which means the Bucks players broke their own contract Wednesday to protest racial injustice and police violence, a move that has reverberated throughout other sports.

Video: Bucks boycott playoff game after Jacob Blake shooting

In a statement issued on Wednesday afternoon, the Bucks players said they are "calling for justice for Jacob Blake and demand the officers be held accountable."

"The past four months have shed a light on the ongoing racial injustices facing our African American communities. Citizens around the country have used their voices and platforms to speak out against these wrongdoings," they said in a statement.

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

They called on the Wisconsin Legislature to "reconvene after months of inaction and take up meaningful measures to address issues of police accountability, brutality and criminal justice reform."

Related video: Protesters march through Kenosha streets


A second night of WNBA games were also postponed and other teams and sports pondered whether they would play on.

“This is not a strike. This is not a boycott. This is a affirmatively day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization,” WNBA players’ union president Nneka Ogwumike said on ESPN.

Representing the six teams slated to play on Wednesday, Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams announced that WNBA players were standing in solidarity with "our brothers in the NBA" and also would not play.

The ESPN2 broadcast showed players from the six teams scheduled to take the court locked arms and knelt while wearing shirts spelling out Jacob Blake's name.


The NHL's Stanley Cup Playoffs will not be held Thursday, sources told ESPN. It's a move to show solidarity with teams protesting the shooting of Blake.

Games had been scheduled for the Philadelphia Flyers against the New York Islanders and Vegas Golden Knights against the Vancouver Canucks.

The NHL later confirmed games for Thursday and Friday would be postponed. Friday's games involved the Tampa Bay Lightning against the Boston Bruins and Colorado Avalanche against the Dallas Stars.


Three MLB games were postponed Wednesday: Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres and the Los Angeles Dodgers vs. San Francisco Giants.

"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," a league statement said. "Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice."

Seven games were postponed Thursday: Oakland at Texas, Philadelphia at Washington, Baltimore at Tampa Bay, Minnesota at Detroit, Colorado at Arizona and Boston at the Blue Jays in Buffalo, New York. Some games were played as scheduled.

Without much apparent guidance from MLB, teams were left to make decisions for themselves. Some games were officially postponed a few hours before the scheduled start time. Others, like Colorado-Arizona, appeared to be on schedule until a few minutes before first pitch.

Meanwhile, The Players Alliance, a nonprofit consisting of current and former professional baseball players seeking to create more inclusion for Black people in relation to the game as well as more opportunities, is also making a stance.

The organization said its players agreed to donate their salaries on Thursday and Friday to The Players Alliance to support efforts to combat racial inequality and aid Black families and communities. Players also encouraged fans and allies to join their outreach. "We cannot stand idly by and wait for change," the group said in a statement.


Five Major League Soccer games scheduled to take place on Wednesday night were postponed, the league announced.

"The entire Major League Soccer family unequivocally condemns racism and has always stood for equality, but we need to do more to take tangible steps to impact change," MLS said. "We will continue to work without players, our clubs and the broader soccer community to harness our collective power to fight for equality and social justice."


As the league voiced its support regarding long overdue changes, forces within the professional sport made their own stances.

The Baltimore Ravens on Thursday night voiced anguish over the shooting of Blake and unlawful abuse of protests, called for the arrest of police who killed Breonna Taylor, and demanded prison reform and the U.S. Senate act on the George Floyd Justice in Policing Act of 2020 and more.

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Several NFL teams also decided to cancel practice.

The Washington Football Team Coach Ron Rivera said in a statement, "Friday we can return to football. But tomorrow will be about reflection instead. In place of our practice at FedEx Field, the players, coaches, and football staff will meet as a football family and we will continue our open dialogue on the issues of racism and social injustice in our country."

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A report from the New York Daily News said the Jets were also canceling their practice Thursday.

“We’re hurting,” safety Bradley McDougald said Wednesday. “I’m an African American man and that easily could’ve been me. As soon as I walk out of 1 Jets Drive, I’m just another Black man and I don’t know how the cop is going to see me.”

The Indianapolis Colts, Tennessee Titans, Arizona Cardinals, Denver Broncos and Green Bay Packers are among the teams not practicing Thursday, ESPN reported. The Colts said they would instead "use the day to discuss and work toward making a lasting social impact and inspiring change in our communities."

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Naomi Osaka will play in the Western & Southern Open semifinals, after all.

A day after saying she would withdraw from the hard-court event to protest the "continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police" — prompting the tournament to call off all of Thursday's matches — the two-time Grand Slam champion and former No. 1-ranked player changed course.

Her agent confirmed that Osaka will face No. 14 Elise Mertens when play resumes at the tournament Friday with the semifinals. The finals were shifted from Friday to Saturday.

“As you know, I pulled out of the tournament yesterday in support of racial injustice and continued police violence. I was (and am) ready and prepared to concede the match to my opponent,” Osaka said in a statement to the Guardian newspaper. “However, after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement.”

Osaka tweeted Wednesday that, 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. ... Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.”

Hearst TV contributed to this report.