MLS cancels mid-week matches to join protests against Jacob Blake shooting and US racism

August 27 – Major League Soccer cancelled five games that were due to be played on Wednesday (yesterday) joining a wave of boycotts in US sports, with NBA play-off games, baseball and tennis matches all called off in protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday.

Atlanta United vs Inter Miami, FC Dallas vs Colorado, Portland vs  San Jose, Real Salt Lake vs LAFC and LA Galaxy vs Seattle were all cancelled as players joined the protest against racial violence in the US. Orlando City vs Nashville SC did go ahead.

“The entire Major League Soccer family is deeply saddened and horrified by the senseless shooting of Jacob Blake and events in Kenosha,” an MLS statement read. “We continue to stand with the black community throughout our country – including our players and employees – and share in their pain, anger and frustration.

“The entire Major League Soccer family unequivocally condemns racism and has always stood for equality, but we need to do more to take tangible steps to impact change. We will continue to work with our players, our clubs and the broader soccer community to harness our collective power to fight for equality and social justice.”

On social media, Colorado forward Kei Kamara explained the decision to cancel the matches. He wrote: “We made a decision together as players and staff to not play our game tonight, because there’s more happening in our country to distract our minds to soccer. This is the first time I can agree to the saying ‘It’s just a game.”’

Before their game against Inter Miami, Atlanta United released a statement. It read: “We stand in solidarity with the Black community, with our players, our city and our fans in the fight against injustice,” the statement said. “We must use our voices to be the change.”

Earlier on Wednesday, the Milwaukee Bucks boycotted Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic in the NBA. Their home court is close to the site of the shooting. Two NBA playoff games – between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Houston Rockets; and the Portland Trail Blazers and the Los Angeles Lakers – were also postponed on Wednesday. In the MLB, Seattle Mariners – San Diego Padres baseball game as well as a San Francisco Giants-Los Angeles Dodgers game were also cancelled

Blake, a 29-year-old African American, was shot and injured by police in front of his children. A graphic cell phone video of the shooting went viral. His family and lawyer say he is now paralysed from the waist down. New protests have erupted across the US.

Contact the writer of this story, Samindra Kunti, at moc.l1601003735labto1601003735ofdlr1601003735owedi1601003735sni@o1601003735fni1601003735