Billion Dollar Sport Industries Respond After Jacob Blake Shooting

This summer, there has been an immense amount of Black Lives Matter protests, after police officers misusing authority on minorities. The Black Lives Matter protests took the news by storm after George Floyd’s death, which was caused by police brutality. After Floyd's tragic death, stores in Minneapolis, Minnesota were all looted and demolished, and there were other protests all across the United States. Now, after the Jacob Blake shooting, pro sports teams decided to peacefully spread the message by not playing games that were scheduled.

Different sports across the United States such as hockey, baseball, and basketball decided not to play at the end of August to peacefully spread the message ‘Black Lives Matter’. Even in the midst of the NHL and NBA playoffs, teams decided to rather not play for millions of people, and take a risk to protest what they believe in. People around the United States had a lot of mixed emotions about the professional teams decisions. No one really had a problem about them not playing, but some had more of a problem for what they are standing for. A lot of people have turned their back on the teams and do not support them anymore because of their decision. Some people wish that politics would stay out of sports. On the Colorado Avalanche’s post about their decision, there’s a lot of hate in the comments about what they did as well. Some people say “I can no longer support this team” and a lot of middle finger emojis and posts directed towards them. A lot of people are frustrated that they are protesting and wished they would have stayed out of the political discussion. Despite all of the fans' hate, teams were able to accomplish spreading the message to end police brutality in a peaceful and effective way.

The Colorado Avalanche announcing their decision to not play due to spreading awareness on Black Lives Matter (photo courtesy of ESPN)

This isn’t the first time the Black Lives Matter movement has been seen in sports. In 2016 Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers quarterback started kneeling during the national anthem to spread awareness. This movement inspired a lot of athletes to peacefully protest by kneeling during the anthem. Not only did the 49ers quarterback inspire athletes in the NFL, but the movement also spread to the Olympics in 2016. Kaepernick inspired a lot of people to stand up and fight police brutality which is still seen today in sports. However Kaepernick’s decision also came with a price. Kaepernick was released from the 49ers and had a lot of fans, just like the Avalanche, turn against him. People started burning the products that Kaepernick was sponsored for.

Jason Heyward, an outfielder for the Chicago Cubs has also been trying to make a difference in the community. Heyward decided to sit out a game to spread awareness, but has also done more to help. Heyward is determined to not let the Black Lives Matter conversation fade away until there isn’t inequality in the system. “Today was about coming together. Briefly discussing the past, addressing the present, and preparing for ways to help the ones that are our future. It takes everyone together.”Heyward said after talking with teens and members of the Chicago Police Department about what has been going on in the United States recently in hopes for everyone to get involved in the movement. Heyward has touched many of his teammates and players around the MLB to start using their voice to make a difference. “There’s things in this country that are not right, right now. If we start acknowledging it and moving forward instead of sweeping it under the rug and moving on to the next story, that’s a start.” Anthony Rizzo, one of Heyward’s teammates said after the recent events going on in America. Heyward has led his team to set a great example to start pushing towards more changes in the system to stop equality. Heyward hopes that the actions him and his teammates will help prevent injustices in the future.

This way of protesting has shown a much more peaceful way of protesting. With no harm done physically to people the teams have been able to show a different way to attack problems in the country.

Image of Rizzo also wearing Black Lives Matter shirt (photo courtesy of Chicago Cubs)

Image of Heyward showing his support for Black Lives Matter (photo courtesy of Chicago Cubs)