The Milwaukee Bucks led a historic sporting boycott yesterday over the US police shooting of a black man, forcing the NBA to halt its playoff schedule and prompting a wave of walkouts across multiple sports.
The NBA postponed its entire slate of fixtures after the Bucks refused to play game five of their Eastern Conference first-round series against the Orlando Magic in protest over the shooting of African-American man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday.
Blake was seriously injured after being shot point blank in the back seven times by police officers in a confrontation captured on video.
"Over the last few days in our home state of Wisconsin, we've seen the horrendous video of Jacob Blake being shot in the back seven times by a police officer in Kenosha, and the additional shooting of protestors," the Bucks players said in a statement explaining their boycott.
The Bucks' no-show prompted the NBA to scrap two other games scheduled yesterday: Houston's clash with Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers' matchup with the Portland Trail Blazers.
At an emergency meeting of NBA teams in Florida, the crisis threatened to put the entire season in jeopardy, with LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers both voting to abandon the season. All other teams voted to continue.
The boycotts spread to other sports, with the Milwaukee Brewers' game against the Cincinnati Reds becoming one of several Major League Baseball games to be postponed.
In tennis, two-time Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka abruptly announced her withdrawal from the WTA Western & Southern Open semi-finals, where she was due to play today.
"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," Osaka said.*AFP
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