The Washington Football Team canceled its Thursday practice at FedEx Field to “continue our open dialogue on the issues of racism and social injustice in our country,” head coach Ron Rivera announced Wednesday night.
The decision came hours after several MLB, NBA, WNBA and MLS games were postponed Wednesday night following the shooting of Jacob Blake by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
The team said it will return to football activities Friday but emphasized that Thursday is for reflection.
It has been a very difficult day on many levels. After many conversations with Head Coach Ron Rivera and Jason, we have decided to postpone tomorrow’s practice at FedExField to engage in meaningful dialogue on social injustice. pic.twitter.com/7rGYYxDurD
— Julie Donaldson (@juliedonaldson_) August 27, 2020
“Mr. Snyder and [team president] Jason [Wright] will join us in our discussion with the team tomorrow, just as Mr. Snyder and I will support Jason in similar discussions we are planning for members of the business and stadium side of the organization,” Rivera said.
“We are all in this together. And as a team we will work to figure out ways that we can make a positive impact in our communities.”
Cancellations across sports leagues started with the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks not coming on to the floor for Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic.
NBA officials later announced that all three of the day’s scheduled playoff games had been postponed.
Three WNBA games also were called off inside the league’s bubble in Bradenton, Florida. The Mystics postponed their game against the Atlanta Dream.
MLB players drove the decisions that resulted in the postponements.
Locally, after the Nationals’ game against the Phillies concluded Wednesday night, the screen at Nationals Park said “Justice Equality Now,” WTOP’s Dan Friedell reported.
Blake was shot multiple times by police in Kenosha, about 40 miles south of Milwaukee. The Blake family’s attorney said Blake was paralyzed and that it would “take a miracle” for him to walk again.
The shooting of the 29-year-old Blake was captured on cellphone video Sunday and ignited protests in Kenosha and elsewhere.
Blake was shot in the back seven times on Sunday as he leaned into his SUV, three of his children seated inside. Kenosha police have said little about what happened other than that they were responding to a domestic dispute.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.