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Nationals and Phillies will not play Thursday night in protest

/ by Todd Dybas
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The Nationals and Philadelphia Phillies decided not to play Thursday night’s series finale in a concerted protest with the NBA and several other major-league teams following the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin on Sunday, the Nationals announced in a statement.

"The Phillies and Nationals players have collectively decided to postpone tonight’s game," the Nationals wrote. "We support their decision to use their platform to call attention to the racial and social injustice that continues to exist in our country. We will continue to stand behind our players and those on the front lines working to generate accountability and real change in our society."

Thursday’s games between the Orioles and Rays, Rockies and Diamondbacks, Athletics and Rangers, Red Sox and Blue Jays as well as the Twins and Tigers were postponed as well.

The Phillies first decided they would not play at Nationals Park. They instead reportedly planned to go to Nationals Park for light work before leaving for home to host the Atlanta Braves on Friday, according to The Athletic.

The Nationals open a three-game series in Boston over the weekend. Their standard press conference with manager Davey Martinez was scheduled for 2:30 p.m. before being abruptly postponed at 2:29 p.m. Martinez and Phillies manager Joe Girardi then hosted a joint press conference before ceding the microphones to Phillies first baseman Rhys Hoskins and Nationals utility man Josh Harrison.

Martinez said Wednesday night he would discuss what to do Thursday with the players. He was emotional when asked about the postponements, protests and current climate in the country.

 

“I’m proud of the NBA. I’m proud of all the people who stand for justice,” Martinez said. “You know the way I feel about all this stuff. It’s horrible. We need change. We got to come up with some kind of conclusion because this is bad. I’m going to talk to the players. We’ll see what happens [Thursday]. I get it, I understand it. I tip my hat off to all those guys.

“People got to understand we’re human beings as well. We feel for everybody. We’re not just athletes. We’re first people and we understand what’s going on. If we’ve got a chance to make a change or try to change something, we’re going to do it.”

The NBA playoffs came to a halt Wednesday when the Milwaukee Bucks first chose not to play in objection to the shooting of Blake, as well as multiple other incidents between Black people and police, including the death of George Floyd.

Three Major League Baseball games followed suit when the Brewers and Reds, Mariners and Padres, and Dodgers and Giants all chose not to play Wednesday.

Major League Baseball released a statement following the postponements:

“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.  Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”

The NBA appears set to resume the playoffs over the weekend. The league announced Thursday afternoon it again would not play.