Bucks boycott NBA game after shooting

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Workers remove items from the Milwaukee Bucks' bench area after they boycott an NBA play-off game
Balls and towels were removed from the Bucks’ bench area

The NBA postponed Wednesday’s three play-off games after the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their fixture in protest at the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The incident took place in Kenosha, Wisconsin, 40 miles (25km) from Milwaukee.

In baseball, the MLB’s Seattle Mariners announced they had decided not to play the second game in the series against the San Diego Padres.

The decision was based on a unanimous vote from the players, Mariners’ player Dee Gordon tweeted.

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The Milwaukee Bucks’ senior vice president, Alex Lasry, tweeted:external-link “Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and organisation shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough.”

He added: “Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change.”

The Bucks were due to play the Orlando Magic. After the postponement, a statement on behalf of the Bucks’ owners read: “We fully support our players and the decision they made. Although we did not know beforehand, we would have wholeheartedly agreed with them.

“The only way to bring about change is to shine a light on the racial injustices that are happening in front of us. Our players have done that and we will continue alongside them and demand accountability and change.”

The Houston Rockets’ game against the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Lakers’ match-up with the Portland Trail Blazers were also postponed, and will be rescheduled.

The Lakers’ LeBron James tweeted: “We demand change. Sick of it.” Karl-Anthony Towns of the Minnesota Timberwolves added: “Shoot hoops, not people”, while Denver Nuggets player Jamal Murray said: “We demand justice!”

Prior to the scheduled game, Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer said: “Myself, my players and our organisation are very disturbed by what happened in Kenosha.

“It is a great challenge to have an appreciation and a desire to want change, to want something different and better in Kenosha, Milwaukee and Wisconsin, and then to go out and play a game.”

NBA players are scheduled for a meeting in Florida later on Wednesday to determine their next steps, with NBA TV saying that some players are contemplating leaving the NBA bubble near Orlando.

The Milwaukee Brewers’ MLB game against the Cincinnati Reds on Wednesday has also been postponed.

Earlier in the day, NFL’s Detroit Lions cancelled their practice session. Players then gathered in front of the team facility, holding signs which read: “We Won’t be Silent” and “The World Can’t Go On.”

After the NBA boycott, the NHL are expected to hold a ‘moment of reflection’ before the games between the Boston Bruins and Tampa Bay Lightning in Toronto, and the Dallas Stars and Colorado Avalanche in Edmonton.

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