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Major Link Soccer: Links Strike

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If teams can strike and not play matches, we can have a day of links dedicated to those decisions.

2020 NBA Restart -Milwaukee Bucks Statement Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

If the NBA, WNBA, Mariners, Sounders, and many others could stop playing the game they love to call for social justice and an end to systemic racism, we owe them the time to stop reading Messi rumors and read and listen to them and what they want us to know. Today’s links are about all the players striking/boycotting yesterday, the reasons they made the decisions they made, what could happen going forward, and more.

Take time today to listen to what members of the Black community, and other marginalized groups, have to say about what happens in their everyday life. Listen to why they insist changes need to be made; even if you’ve listened and been an ally everyday, it is important to keep listening. But don’t end at listening. Do what you can to help, whether that is just being there to support, contributing time or money to organizations, share others’ messages to amplify them and make sure that more people can hear. Vote. Vote. Vote. Don’t just vote for the President, which matters a ton, but vote in every election you can. Your local district attorney and judges matter. Your county council matters. Your state reps matter. All of these offices matter and voting to make changes to end systemic racism is crucial at every level. But our jobs don’t end on election day — continuing work to ensure that politicians and organizations work to stop systemic racism is needed. But to start with, talk this morning, or some time today, to hear why players are striking and sit with it.

To start with, Chris Webber delivered a very emotional message after the NBA announced they were not playing today.

Soccer

MLS matches started after the NBA and WNBA had announced their strikes for the day and while it took plenty of time to make the decision in some cases and get players on the same page, almost every game was postponed. While it appears not every team agreed, and Orlando City SC and Nashville SC played their match, the rest did not play.

The Timbers and Quakes called off their match as a strike. San Jose Earthquakes’ game against Portland Timbers called off amid player strike - Center Line Soccer

Before the Portland match, RSL which had sold out their stadium of 5,000, postponed their match. Unlike in Orlando, having fans did not stop the players from striking. LAFC’s game against Real Salt Lake will not be played - Angels on Parade

FC Dallas and Colorado postponed their match with fans in the stadium as well. The Rapids did a great job on social media to help educate fans.

MLS players and coaches continued to speak out after the strikes tonight with Robin Fraser, Colorado’s coach, and Sacha Kljestan, the Galaxy midfielder, sharing their thoughts.

Meanwhile Orlando and Nashville played, suggesting that fans in the stands were the reason they did not strike. LAFC’s Mark-Anthony Kaye, one of the most outspoken players yesterday, spoke about OCSC-Nashville.

The Union played yesterday, before the strikes started, but after the match Union players called for justice. Mark McKenzie calls for justice for Jacob Blake in post-game broadcast - Brotherly Game

By toeing the line, clubs abdicate the community-focused leadership roles they claim to hold at a time when those roles are most impactful. The hope is today showed that teams are going to do more than just a tweet. With empty statements on race, many U.S. soccer clubs fail to meet the moment – The Athletic

MLB

Unlike MLS, the statement by the MLB gave stronger support to players and addressed why the players are not playing in a better manner.

It started with the Milwaukee Brewers joining their hometown Bucks in refusing to play their game today, choosing not to play their game against the Cincinnati Reds. The Reds were in support and stood in solidarity.

The Mariners were the next team to take the step with the club voting unanimously to not play today. While many players, including Taijuan Walker, Marco Gonzales, and Braden Bishop tweeted throughout the day in support of the strike, Dee Gordon spoke first.

Team will not play tonight in San Diego; doubleheader tomorrow likely. Mariners join sports strike to protest racial injustice - Lookout Landing

Mookie Betts talked to his team and said he wasn’t going to play and his team backed him up and the Giants supported the Dodgers all the way.

The Giants and Dodgers stood in solidarity with fellow MLB teams, deciding not to play at Oracle Park on Wednesday to protest the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wis., on Sunday. Giants, Dodgers decide not to play | Los Angeles Dodgers

While most MLB teams did play, some players across the league did sit out, including Colorado Rockie (and former Dodger) Matt Kemp. Players in the Cubs-Tigers and Royals-Cardinals games also sat out.

Dominic Smith, whose Mets did play starting around 4:00, spoke out after the game to share his feelings.

NBA

The NBA is where this all started. For the NBA, it goes back to George Hill on the Bucks discussing players needed to do more. Norman Powell and Fred VanVleet of the Raptors discussed a potential strike in press conferences a couple days ago. Yesterday, the Bucks took the step and refused to take the court during warm-ups and as tip-off came and went, informed officials of their decision to strike. From there, the Thunder and Rockets, Lakers and Blazers agreed to strike and not play their playoff games as well.

The Bucks took time to come out and greet the media to discuss why they striked and what actions they wanted taken, including the Wisconsin legislature reconvening for a special session. Their statement read aloud is below and linked for the full text.

Milwaukee Bucks Players' Statement Following Boycott of Game 5 of NBA Playoffs vs. Orlando | Milwaukee Bucks

The Bucks have a very personal connection to systemic racism and social injustice. If you haven’t heard about, or it has been a while since you heard Sterling Brown’s experience, read what happened to him two and a half years ago in a run-in with the Milwaukee police. Your Money Can’t Silence Me | By Sterling Brown

After the league postponed games for the night, and might be postponing games tomorrow, everyone in the bubble held a meeting, which eventually became a players only meeting. The players voted, in what appears to be just a poll not a formal vote, on the future with the Lakers and Clippers voting to not play the remaining games. The discussion will continue tomorrow. Lakers, Clippers take stand against playing remainder of NBA season during players meeting, per report - CBSSports.com
Every other team is leaning towards continuing the season

Maurice Harkless is not in the bubble right now, since he plays for the Knicks, but he shared his experience while he was a Portland Trail Blazer.

WNBA

The WNBA has consistently led on actions and discourse for social justice and equality and today was no different. The WNBA considered a couple different options, after the NBA strike was announced, and first was playing but stopping every seven minutes. While that was initially the decision, Atlanta Dream players decided that since some teammates did not feel like they could play, the team would not play and the rest of the league followed suit. Even teams that were not scheduled to play today stood in solidarity with those who were.

It started with the Washington Mystics and their warm-up shirts to push for justice. WNBA players join Jacob Blake strikes, wear shirts with bullet holes in back

The WNBA supports its players but ultimately it is the WNBA players that make them one of the leaders in social justice and as the days go on look for the players to continue speaking out.

General

Former Seattle Times writer Jerry Brewer wrote a great column that is a must read, athletes are not entertainers, and by refusing to play they are using one of the few tools at their disposal to make themselves heard — and felt. For Black athletes, social unrest is not a game, and this historic action is an urgent plea - The Washington Post

Many sportswriters have recently decided that they can’t “stick to sports” in the current political climate. But for some, societal issues have been woven into the fabric of athletics all along. If you thought sports were ever separate from politics, think again

The Detroit Lions were the first team to not practice in order to protest for social justice a couple days ago and after today’s strikes, the Washington Football Team will as well. Washington cancels Thursday's stadium practice in response to Jacob Blake shooting

The strikes don’t stop with team sports as tennis star Naomi Osaka is sitting out the semifinals in Cincinnati.

Hockey meanwhile did nothing, well they held a moment of silent reflection before the anthem in tonight’s playoff games and that just will not cut it. But don’t ask me for that, ask one of the NHL’s black players, Evander Kane.

Take today and everyday to strive and make a difference to end systemic racism. And if you are looking for something to watch, the I Am Not Your Negro documentary, narrated by Samuel L. Jackson, is streaming free on YouTube.