Boycotts And Protests Grab The Sports Headlines


August 26, 2020 was an unusual and monumental day in sports when the games that weren't played became much bigger headlines than the games that were. It started in the afternoon, when the Milwaukee Bucks, the top-seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference playoffs, failed to take the court for their playoff game with Orlando. The move came after players around the NBA had been discussing a potential boycott in an effort to make a statement against racial injustice. The Bucks became the first team to take action, as their home state of Wisconsin has been rocked the last several days by the incident in Kenosha, Wisconsin in which police officers shot Jacob Blake, a Black man, in the back seven times. Hours after not appearing for pregame warm-ups, the Bucks, as a team, emerged from their locker room to explain their decision to boycott.

Not long after the Bucks/Magic game was postponed, word began to circulate in the NBA bubble in Orlando that players in the other two games scheduled for Wednesday were in favor of not playing as well in support of the Bucks decision. The NBA quickly confirmed the rumors and the remaining games were postponed.

There very quickly was a chain reaction to the boycotts, with games in the WNBA, five in Major League Soccer and three in Major League Baseball postponed. Among the games in MLB to be called off was the Milwaukee Brewers game against the Reds. Brewers players voted to sit out to make a statement about events in Kenosha and to show support for the Bucks protest. The Reds announced they agreed with the Brewers decision and were in full support of the postponement.

What happens next is still unclear. NBA players met Wednesday night and according to reports, had an emotional meeting with several players favoring cancelling the remainder of the playoffs to make a loud statement of their desire for change. There are more meetings planned for Thursday, including commissioner Adam Silver discussing the situation with the NBA Board of Governors.

Ohio State basketball forward Seth Towns, a graduate transfer from Harvard, has been outspoken on the issues of racism and social injustice as have former Buckeyes and current New Orleans Saints players Michael Thomas and Malcolm Jenkins. They were among the many athletes to react to Wednesday's extraordinary day in sports. You can see more reaction below.