Brewers, Mariners, Giants among MLB teams to choose not to play Wednesday
The Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds chose not to play their game Wednesday, making them the first two Major League Baseball teams to walk out following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
"The players from the Brewers and Reds have decided to not play tonight's baseball game," the teams wrote in a joint statement released by the Brewers. "With our community and our nation in such pain, we wanted to draw as much attention to the issues that really matter, especially racial injustice and systemic oppression."
"Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight," MLB said in a statement.
Brewers players met earlier Wednesday to discuss whether they wanted to play, according to Adam McCalvy of MLB.com. The Reds agreed with their opponents' decision, and both teams unanimously decided to walk out.
"I'm proud of them," Brewers manager Craig Counsell said, according to Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. They did a courageous thing. They had a meaningful conversation and chose to act. They said, 'If not now, when are we going to act?'"
Outfielder Ryan Braun, who has spent his entire career with the Brewers, credited the Milwaukee Bucks - whose walkout on their postseason contest Wednesday led to the NBA postponing its night of games - with motivating his team's decision.
Reds pitcher Jesse Biddle released his own statement on Instagram:
MLB announced doubleheaders for the Brewers-Reds and Mariners-Padres to make both games up on Thursday. The Giants and Dodgers will also play a doubleheader Thursday, according to Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area.
In San Diego, several Mariners and Padres players met on the field before Seattle voted to sit out, according to Kevin Acee of the San Diego Union-Tribune. Mariners second baseman Dee Gordon tweeted that his team was unanimous in the decision not to play.
In a statement, the Padres said they "understand the Mariners' decision" and "support the players' efforts to use their platform to bring awareness to the very serious issue of racial injustice impacting our country today."
At San Francisco's Oracle Park, Giants players and personnel held a meeting on the field shortly after word of the Brewers-Reds walkout became public, according to John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle. Both the Giants and Dodgers then left the field.
Giants manager Gabe Kapler - a vocal voice in MLB regarding systemic racism over the past few months - lent his support to the Brewers, Reds, and Bucks, and he added his team is discussing how to proceed with its game, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today.
Wednesday's walkouts are in response to Sunday's shooting of Blake, an unarmed Black man. Blake is currently in the hospital; a family attorney told reporters Tuesday that he is paralyzed from the waist down and will need "a miracle" to walk again, according to The Associated Press.