These are the top stories from the world of sports this week. NBA, MLB and MLS postpone games after Milwaukee Bucks’ players boycott Orlando Magic playoff game over Jacob Blake shooting
A number of major US sporting events were called off on Wednesday as athletes protested against racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin last week.
- Three NBA play-off games, two Major League Baseball matches, three WNBA fixtures and five Major League Soccer games were postponed after player-led actions in response to the shooting of African-American Blake.
- Blake, a black man, was shot seven times in the back by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin near Milwaukee, with plenty of civil unrest following.
- Tennis star Naomi Osaka also withdrew from her semi-final at the Western & Southern Open in New York, scheduled for Thursday, saying ‘before I am an athlete, I am a black woman’.
- Wednesday’s multi-sport response began when the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted their play-off game against the Orlando Magic.
- Leading 3-1 and needing just one more win to move into the Eastern Conference semi-finals, the Bucks did not emerge from their locker room for practice ahead of game five.
- After calling off their game against the Orlando Magic, the Bucks players released a statement that said: “Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball.
- Baseball matches between the Cincinnati Reds and Milwaukee Brewers in Milwaukee, and between the Seattle Mariners and San Diego Padres in San Diego, were also postponed.
“The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight’s baseball game,” players from both teams said in a joint statement.
“With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression.”
Messi And Barcelona Poised for Legal Battle
Lionel Messi has told Barcelona he wants to leave the club after nearly two decades with the Spanish giants. The club confirmed on Tuesday the Argentine sent a document expressing his desire to activate a release clause that would end his contract – which currently runs until next June – and allow him to leave for free this summer.
Barcelona do not agree the clause is still active. It is said to have expired on June 10 – 10 days after the original date of the Champions League final on May 30. But Messi’s lawyers are arguing that – in the spirit of the deal and good faith – the clause is still active after the rescheduled final on August 23, which was delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The announcement comes 11 days after Barcelona’s humiliating 8-2 loss to Bayern Munich in the Champions League quarter-finals, one of the worst defeats in the player’s career and in the club’s history. The defeat capped a difficult season for Barcelona – the first without a trophy since 2007-08 – and ignited one of their worst crises ever.
Messi has won a record six Ballon d’Or awards during his time at Barcelona as the top player in the world, and has helped the club win 10 Spanish league titles and four Champions Leagues.