If you opinionate sports helps distract your mind off something that is a reality to other human beings, you have the privilege to say that.
Some black individuals wake up every day, and sports do not help distract or get their minds off police brutality in the United States.
Athletes are making the turn when addressing owners to postpone games and, in turn, using their platforms to make us pause and direct our focus to gun violence and reflect on the tragic death of Daunte Wright.
This is a new era of athlete empowerment that I have never seen before. The cause of this is something I have never seen either. Don’t distract yourself or use sports as a distraction.
The Minnesota Twins, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Minnesota Wild all postponed games on Monday following the police shooting of Daunte Wright on Sunday night.
Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, died Sunday after a police officer shot him in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center during a traffic stop. The Brooklyn Center police chief said the shooting was accidental, as the officer-involved intended to fire a taser gun and not a handgun during a struggle with Wright. Police were trying to arrest him on an outstanding warrant.
“Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center, and following the additional details in this evolving situation, the Minnesota Twins have decided it is in the best interest of our fans, staff, players and community to not play today’s game”, the Twins said in a statement.
The Twins decided to postpone their home game against the Boston Red Sox after consulting Major League Baseball, in addition to local and state officials.
“Our community has been through a lot,” Twins president Dave St. Peter told local reporters. “We have a trial taking place just blocks away from Target Field. Emotions across our community, emotions across our organization, are raw.
Wright died of a gunshot wound to the chest, and his death was ruled as a homicide, according to the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. Homicide is defined as the killing of one person by another.
The state Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, which is investigating the shooting, identified the officer who shot Wright as Kim Potter, a 26-year veteran who has been placed on administrative leave.
Security around downtown Minneapolis, where the Twins play, already has been heightened because of the trial of Derek Chauvin, whose knee prosecutors say was pressed on George Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes as the unarmed Black man was handcuffed and pinned to the pavement on May 25, 2020.
Floyd’s death sparked a summer of unrest and a national reckoning over racial injustice that was felt poignantly and painfully in Minneapolis. Chauvin’s trial at the county government center is about eight blocks from Target Field.
Floyd’s death blew open a summer door of unrest and a national reckoning over racial injustice that was felt emotionally and sorely in Minneapolis. Chauvin’s trial at the county government center is about eight blocks from Target Field.
The Red Sox were already staying at a hotel outside the city due to security provisions. Prior to the announcement of the postponement, both the Red Sox and Twins had taken the field to warm up, with the national anthem already played.
“Obviously, a tough situation, sad situation, especially in this area, right?” Red Sox manager Alex Cora said, extending “thoughts and prayers” to the Wright family. “It’s been tough the last 12 months, with everything that’s going on.”
The Timberwolves called off their home game on Monday night against the Brooklyn Nets without immediately announcing when it would be rescheduled. General manager Gersson Rosas called Wright’s death “devastating” and said that postponing the game was “the best decision.”
The NHL’s Wild were supposed to host the St. Louis Blues on Monday night. The postponement was made “out of respect for heartbreaking incident” in Brooklyn Center, the team said. That game was rescheduled for May 12, during the extra week the league has added to the regular season to accommodate postponements due to COVID-19 protocols.
“I think we all just figured it was the right thing to do,” Wild general manager Bill Guerin said.
NBA coaches addressed the shooting before their games Monday night, including Doc Rivers and Gregg Popovich. Rivers said Wright’s death at the hands of police was “frustrating for all Black Americans.”
“We keep making mistakes and killing Black people,” Rivers said Monday. “I don’t want to get into race, but it’s there. I think we all have weaknesses, and we all need to confront them and find out how we can make this place a better world, a better country.
“To me, improving our culture, as a society, is really important. Not counseling, but improving it.”
San Antonio Spurs coach Gregg Popovich added, saying the shooting made “you sick to your stomach.”
“How many times does it have to happen?” he told reporters Monday. “As sick to our stomachs as we might feel, that individual is dead. He’s dead. And his family is grieving, and friends are grieving. And we just keep moving on as if nothing is happening.
Wright was at a traffic stop. He did not reach for a gun. When there are mass shootings, the shooter usually comes out alive unless committing suicide.
Potter has been on the police force for 26 years and mistakenly confused a taser for a pistol. The police need to be held accountable for their actions. There cannot be any more distractions.
Information from The Associated Press was used in this column.