Most of Wednesday’s matches in Major League Soccer were postponed as players chose not to play in protest of racial injustice and, in particular, the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, by police on Sunday in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The development came as players in both the NBA and WNBA declined to play in support of Black Lives Matter, as well as to protest what took place in Kenosha, which included the killing of two protesters Tuesday night.
It seemed as though MLS wouldn’t follow suit, as the match between Orlando City SC and Nashville SC went ahead as scheduled. But after players took the field for the Atlanta United and Inter Miami match scheduled for 8 p.m. ET, they reversed course and decided not to play.
The subsequent matches, starting with the game between Miami and Atlanta United, soon delayed their kickoffs as players from both teams conversed as to how to proceed.
The league issued a statement earlier Tuesday condemning racism and inequality but made no mention of postponing games, before later issuing a second statement that read: “Major League Soccer has made the decision to postpone the remaining five matches — Miami-Atlanta, Dallas-Colorado, Real Salt Lake-LAFC, San Jose-Portland, LA Galaxy-Seattle — scheduled for this evening. Each match will be rescheduled.”
Atlanta United issued a statement about the decision that read: “We stand in solidarity with the Black Community, with our players, our city and our fans in the fight against injustice. We must use our voices to be the change.”
The Portland Timbers also made a statement: “The Portland Timbers stand in support of our players and their decision not to play tonight. Racial injustice and police brutality towards Black people in our country must end now.”
The MLS Players Association tweeted in response to the National Basketball Players Association, “We stand with you. #JusticeForJacobBlake”