LOS ANGELES: Sporting fixtures in Minnesota were called off Monday as tensions in the city simmered in the wake of the fatal police shooting of a Black man in a Minneapolis suburb. Basketball, baseball and ice hockey games were all postponed following the shooting death of Daunte Wright on Sunday by police in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
“The National Basketball Association announced today that in light of the tragic events in the Minneapolis area yesterday, tonight’s game between the Brooklyn Nets and the Minnesota Timberwolves at Target Center has been postponed,” the NBA said in a statement.
The shooting, which comes with Minneapolis already on edge because of the Derek Chauvin trial for the murder of George Floyd, sparked protests and looting overnight. Authorities in Minneapolis and surrounding suburbs including Brooklyn Center announced a curfew from 7:00 pm (00:00 GMT) Monday until 6:00 am Tuesday.
The Minnesota Twins baseball team had earlier Monday called off their game against the Boston Red Sox on Monday following the shooting. “Our community’s been through a lot, and we have a trial taking place just blocks away from Target Field,” Twins president Dave St Peter told reporters. “Emotions across our community, emotions across our organization, are raw… playing a baseball game today felt a little less important.”
‘How many times’
Later Monday, the Minnesota Wild’s game against the St Louis Blues was also postponed, the National Hockey League said in a statement. “The decision was made out of respect for the community, following the tragic shooting that occurred in Brooklyn Center, Sunday afternoon,” the statement read.
Outrage over last year’s police killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis swept across the US sports world, with several NBA players joining nationwide protests. The police shooting of another Black man, Jacob Blake, in Wisconsin in August last year prompted a wave of sporting boycotts led by the Milwaukee Bucks, with athletes from the NBA, WNBA, Major League Baseball and Major League Soccer all downing tools to protest against systemic racism.
The latest lethal shooting of a Black man by US police drew a strong response from across the NBA on Monday, with the Philadelphia 76ers coach Doc Rivers leading criticism. “I think we’ve got to stop saying it’s frustrating for Black Americans, I think it’s frustrating for all Americans,” Rivers said in remarks before the Sixers game against the Dallas Mavericks.
“You keep hearing this cancel culture stuff, but we’re cancelling Black lives, and to me, that’s a little more important in my opinion,” Rivers added. “We keep making mistakes and killing Black people. I don’t want to get into race, but it’s there.” San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich said the latest death “makes you sick to your stomach.”
“How many times does it have to happen?” Popovich asked. “As sick to our stomachs that we might feel, that individual is dead. He’s dead. And his family is grieving. And his friends are grieving. And we just keep moving on as if nothing is happening.” – AFP