The San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners will not play on Wednesday.
Protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, have erupted around the country. This isn’t the first time protests have sparked this summer over the police wrongfully killing a person of color. Earlier in the summer George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s death sparked protest, and in some cities, they continued to this point.
The sports world has shown support for the protest as athletes have used their platforms to share the message. Lebron James has become one of the most vocal voices in expressing frustration for the way people of color are treated in this country. Athletes supporting Black Lives Matter first came to the sports world when Colin Kaepernick sat, then kneeled during the National Anthem. Ever since then, sports and the protest have been intertwined.
The Milwaukee Bucks got the ball rolling, as the shooting took place in their home state. They announced that they would not be playing in their playoff game that would have taken place tonight. The rest of the NBA followed suit by postponing the scheduled playoff games as a way of showing support for the protest and ending police brutality.
The Milwaukee Bucks statement: pic.twitter.com/F7XOPs4NqE
— Malika Andrews (@malika_andrews) August 26, 2020
From the baseball side, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds canceled their game today. Jason Heyward of the Chicago Cubs announced that he would be not be playing today while former Padre Matt Kemp also announced that today he would not be playing for the Rockies.
Jason Heyward, one of the most respected players in the Cubs clubhouse, made a personal choice to sit out but encouraged the rest of his teammates to play tonight in Detroit.
— Patrick Mooney (@PJ_Mooney) August 26, 2020
During warmups of the Padres vs. Mariners game, most of the Mariners players left the field except for the bullpen, with the relievers following suit shortly after. Mariners manager Scott Servais came out to talk with Jayce Tingler as, at that point, the Padres were still on the field doing typical pregame activities. The tone did change as, according to Annie Heilbrunn, the park DJ started to play “This Is America” by Childish Gambino. That song tells the story of the hardships black people face daily.
The Mariners have the highest number of black players on their roster. Seattle is one of the cities that has experienced non-stop protesting since the murder of Floyd.
Following the cancellation of the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds game tonight, more teams are discussing the possibility of not playing, sources tell ESPN. Among those currently discussing it: the Seattle Mariners, who have the most Black players of any team in MLB.
— Jeff Passan (@JeffPassan) August 26, 2020
Their players voted not to play today. Then Austin Hedges, Tommy Pham (who has been with the team even while injured), and Manny Machado met with Mariners players Kyle Seager, Shed Long, and Marco Gonzalez. After this meeting, the Padres left the field, and the grounds crew started to cover the field. All reports show that the Padres are obliging the Mariners vote not to play as San Diego released an official statement regarding the decision.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) August 27, 2020
The sports world is now using action to express support for the Black Lives Matter movement. The Bucks were willing to lose a playoff game in order to have attention focused on the issues of BLM and police brutality. MLB players are willing not to play in a shortened season when every game matters, so much more and expanded playoffs turns most teams into contenders. Today the nation does not have sports to hide behind.
Tonight many people will have to take a moment and help find solutions for the problems that people of color have been facing all their lives. This is a time for players to speak up and use their platform. Someday they won’t be a famous athlete, and they don’t want the color of their skin to determine how the authorities treat them.
NOTE: The Astros vs. Angels game was postponed due to Hurricane Laura.