We know you were probably expecting our top 5 sports moments post today. Originally, that was our plan too. However, it just didn’t feel right given current circumstances. It’s hard to find sources of joy in times that feel so dismal. We can spend time feeling sad and remorseful about innocent lives being lost and brutalized; everyone deserves time to mourn and feel upset. However, we also have to be productive with these strong and passionate emotions. Letting our voices be heard is so crucial to change, and often times the loudest voice we have is when we are silent.
Using silence, different teams let their voices be heard. By being silent and exiting their respective court or field, they took away a form of distracting entertainment and forced uncomfortable conversations upon those who have continually criticized and refused to listen. No one was expecting immediate results overnight. No one expected a strike against a few games to fix all current problems, or even most of them. But if you don’t start somewhere and if you don’t start having these important conversations, nothing is ever going to get fixed.
Here at She Write Sports, we stand in solidarity with the Black Lives Matter movement and we will use our platforms as a site and as individual contributors to help make much needed and much overdue change in this world. If this goes against what you believe or how you feel, you can leave without announcing your departure (because we really don’t care). Come back to us when you stop shouting over the voices of those being hurt and when you start listening. We know we can’t change the world ourselves, but standing with an unfathomably large group of people pushing for change is something we are proud of.
So by this point, you have probably realized that our only top moment in sports this week is the strike conducted by athletes across different leagues. This gained national attention when the team with the best record in the NBA, the Milwaukee Bucks, never came onto the court for their game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic. The Magic left the court soon after.
The Bucks weren’t just sitting in the locker room in silence. They were in contact with Wisconsin attorney general Josh Paul and Wisconsin lieutenant governor Mandela Barnes. This call was in response to the Jacob Blake shooting that occurred in Wisconsin earlier this week. Blake was shot seven times in the back by a police officer but still survived the incident and is now in recovery. A call for justice was absolutely necessary. The Bucks remained in their locker room for over three hours before emerging with a statement.
The remaining two games on Wednesday night, (Thunder vs Rockets & Trail Blazers vs Lakers), were also postponed due to player strike. One thing in particular here needs to be made abundantly clear. This is a movement started by the players, not their teams, and not the NBA organization as a whole. Also, this is a strike, not a boycott. Players are withholding their services, not their money. This goes for the other teams across other leagues. Four MLB games were postponed due to player strikes on Wednesday night, and six were postponed on Thursday night. All three NHL games scheduled for Wednesday night were player, but all games after that have been postponed. The NHL and the NBA will return on Saturday. Games in the WNBA for Wednesday and Thursday were postponed, and play will resume tonight. Five MLS matchups were also postponed on Wednesday.
All statements made by players during this strike have been valid and important, but arguably the strongest one made was by the WNBA. The Washington Mystics entered their game on Wednesday (that would later be postponed) wearing shirts with individual letters that spelled out Jacob Blake’s name. These shirts also had the illustrations of seven bullet holes on the back to represent the seven shots fired into Jacob Blake’s back.
The ugliness of hockey culture is no secret to anyone. Anyone who follows the sport knows that the NHL hasn’t done nearly enough to show support for all of their fans, not just the straight white male ones. So the bland statements and empty moment of reflection during pregame came at no surprise. What did come as a surprise was the togetherness shown by players, particularly of the western conference. In a league that has mostly white players. This presser was led by Nazem Kadri, Pierre-Edouard Bellemare, Ryan Reaves, Jason Dickinson, and Bo Horvat.
Prior to what was supposed to be the start of the Marlins vs Mets game, the players came onto the field and took a 42-second moment of silence in honor of Jackie Robinson. The players then exited the field, leaving a Black Lives Matter shirt on home plate as they exited.
As of the time that this is being written, NASCAR drivers like Bubba Wallace and Jimmie Johnson have mentioned that they want to do something to show solidarity during their race at Daytona this weekend. Bubba’s voice is extremely important as he is the only full-time Black driver in NASCAR, and a respected name in the sport like Jimmie Johnson is crucial in encouraging allyship amongst other drivers.
No matter what decision different athletes make to show support to the Black Lives Matter movement, we stand behind them. To all of the brave and incredible Black athletes and civilians that are part of the Black Lives Matter movement, we are with you and we will support you always. We encourage all BLM allies who are readers of our site to speak with but not over Black people when they are speaking up for this movement. The more voices in this movement, the more change we can bring.