Astros, A’s place Black Lives Matter shirt on home plate before leaving field and postponing game

Friday night at Minute Maid Park, the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics did not play their scheduled game to protest racial injustice following the shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, by police. The two teams observed a moment of silence wearing No. 42 jerseys as MLB celebrated Jackie Robinson Day, then a Black Lives Matter shirt was placed on home plate alongside two No. 42 jerseys. The two teams then walked off the field and the game was postponed.

“The Houston Astros players, with support from the Oakland players, have decided to postpone tonight’s game,” the Astros said in a statement. “We support their decision to make a strong statement in support of the fight for racial equality. We are proud of our players’ efforts to use their voices to drive necessary change. The Astros and A’s will proudly celebrate Jackie Robinson Day tomorrow when play is resumed.”

Here is video of the moment of silence and the players leaving the field:

“If we can change one person’s mind, have a conversation that changes one person’s thought process — saves a life — this was worth it for us,” Astros outfielder Michael Brantley told reporters, including Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle, following Friday’s postponement.

“We’ve been through a lot this year,” added Astros manager Dusty Baker, according to Rome. “We’ve been through a lot of scrutiny, but this is the closest I’ve seen these guys together.”

Protests of this kind started Wednesday when the NBA‘s Milwaukee Bucks refused to play their scheduled playoff game against the Orlando Magic. Three MLB games were postponed in protest that night and seven more games were postponed Thursday. Similar protests are taking place in just about every sport in the country.

The A’s and Astros will make up Friday’s game during a doubleheader Saturday. Both teams will wear No. 42 jerseys for Jackie Robinson Day during Game 1. The A’s did not play Thursday’s game against the Rangers as a form of protest. The Astros have not played since Tuesday because Hurricane Laura forced Wednesday’s and Thursday’s games with the Angels to be postponed.  

“We had a deep conversation as a team on, what do we want to do?” A’s shortstop Marcus Semien told reporters, including Shayna Rubin of the Mercury News, on Thursday. “We’re seeing other sports teams, our peers doing things to shine a light on what’s going on in our country. Take the light off ourselves for a game and see if that can make an impact. Because we’ve been trying all kinds of things and we aren’t seeing enough action.”    

According to video, police shot Blake, 29, multiple times in his back as he attempted to enter his vehicle. Blake remains hospitalized in serious condition, and attorneys for the family say he is now paralyzed. Blake’s shooting comes after weeks of turmoil and protest following the killing of George Floyd, another Black man, by Minneapolis police. Tensions surrounding the Blake protests were tragically heightened when a teen from Illinois allegedly shot and killed two protesters Tuesday night.  

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