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US faces historic sport boycott over police shooting of black man

The United States is facing a historic sporting boycott as athletes across the country are calling off games in protest at the police shooting of African American Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The US basketball team, Milwaukee Bucks, became the first to announce it was boycotting games in response to the police violence.

The Wisconsin-based team said in a statement that “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.”

“Despite the overwhelming plea for change, there has been no action, so our focus today cannot be on basketball,” it said.

Former US President Barack Obama, a dedicated basketball fan, tweeted his support of the walkout.

African American Jacob Blake was shot repeatedly in the back by US police officers in, Kenosha, Wisconsin on Sunday. Blake’s family says he has been paralyzed from the waist down.

The shooting incident that was captured on video, became the latest incident to prompt outrage nationwide over US police brutality and racial injustice

Milwaukee Bucks’ move prompted the National Basketball Association (NBA) to postpone three playoff games.

“The players have, once again, made it clear — they will not be silent on this issue,” said NBA executive director Michele Roberts.

The Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) also joined the wave of boycotts and postponed its three games Wednesday night.

Players from the NBA and the WNBA have long been at the forefront of protests against racial discrimination and police brutality in the US.

Their action quickly snowballed to other sport tams, including baseball team Milwaukee Brewers, which said it decided to postpone its game against the Cincinnati Reds.

This has forced Major League Baseball (MLB) to halt three games.

Japanese tennis star Naomi Osaka also joined the chorus of protest as she has pulled out of a major tennis tournament in New York in a protest over the police shooting of Jacob Blake.

Osaka announced the decision in a Tweet, saying that “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.”

The US Tennis Association, the Association of Tennis Professionals (ATP) and the Women’s Tennis Association (WTA) followed her, saying they were pausing play at the Western & Southern Open on Thursday and would resume on Friday.

They said that “tennis is collectively taking a stance against racial inequality and social injustice.”

The Seattle Mariners also announced they had decided not to play the second game in their MLB series against the San Diego Padres.

California baseball rivals, the San Francisco Giants and the Los Angeles Dodgers postponed their scheduled game as well.

They said in a joint statement, “Throughout our country’s history, sport has been a powerful vehicle towards change.”

“The Dodgers and Giants proudly join our players in the shared goal for a more equitable and just society,” it added.

Many other athletes expressed the frustration over Blake’s shooting on social media, including the Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James.

“We demand change,” James said on Twitter, writing in all caps. “Sick of it.”

The Wisconsin protests over the police shooting of Blake have spread to other US cities, including Portland, Oregon and in Minneapolis, Minnesota, where the police killing of unarmed black man George Floyd in May sparked Black Lives Matter protests across the US and globally.

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