Professional athletes protest police shooting of Jacob Blake

By Mike Hayes, Rob Picheta and Meg Wagner, CNN

Updated 11:45 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020
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2:43 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

NBA postpones all 3 Thursday games

From CNN's David Close

An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on August 26 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
An empty court and bench are shown following the scheduled start time of Game 5 of an NBA basketball first-round playoff series on August 26 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Kevin C. Cox/Pool/AP

The NBA has postponed Thursday’s three scheduled playoff games.

The league issued a news release outlining a meeting later this afternoon to discuss next steps. The meeting will include players and management as well as NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan.

Here's a statement from the NBA:

“NBA playoff games for today will not be played as scheduled. We are hopeful to resume games either Friday or Saturday. 
There is a video conference call meeting scheduled later this afternoon between a group of NBA players and team governors representing the 13 teams in Orlando, along with representatives from the National Basketball Players Association and the league office and NBA Labor Relations Committee Chairman Michael Jordan, to discuss next steps.”

2:40 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

WNBA postpones all three Thursday games

Nneka Ogwumike, president of The Women’s National Basketball Players Association, left, speaks with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert at Feld Entertainment Center on August 26 in Palmetto, Florida.
Nneka Ogwumike, president of The Women’s National Basketball Players Association, left, speaks with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert at Feld Entertainment Center on August 26 in Palmetto, Florida. Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The WNBA has postponed Thursday’s three scheduled games. 

Nneka Ogwumike, president of the WNBA Players Association and LA Sparks forward, appeared on ESPN Thursday to speak for the player’s decision to not play for a second straight night.

“This is not a strike. This is not a boycott. This is affirmatively a day of reflection. A day of informed action and mobilization," Ogwumike said.

The WNBA also released a statement saying, “As the WNBA players continue discussions and reflection on recent events, the WNBA announced that the three games scheduled for this evening (Chicago Sky vs. Indiana Fever; Dallas Wings vs. New York Liberty; Las Vegas Aces vs. Seattle Storm) have been postponed. Information regarding rescheduling of yesterday and today’s games will be provided when available.” 

1:46 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Tennis star Naomi Osaka agrees to play in championship semifinals

From CNN's Cesar Marin

Naomi Osaka looks to return a shot during the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on August 26 in New York.
Naomi Osaka looks to return a shot during the quarterfinals at the Western & Southern Open tennis tournament on August 26 in New York. Frank Franklin II/AP

A day after announcing on her Twitter account she would not play in the semifinals of the Women's Tennis Association's Western and Southern Open as a response to the shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin, tennis star Naomi Osaka has agreed to play. 

The two-time Grand Slam winner wrote in her Wednesday post, "Watching the continued genocide of Black people at the hand of the police is honestly making me sick to my stomach.” 

But in a statement released to the New York Times by the her management team on Thursday, the 22-year-old stated: “...after my announcement and lengthy consultation with the WTA and USTA, I have agreed at their request to play on Friday. They offered to postpone all matches until Friday and in my mind that brings more attention to the movement.” 

Osaka thanked the WTA and the tournament for their support.

A WTA spokesperson tells CNN that Osaka did not officially withdraw from the Western and Southern Open on Wednesday.

1:43 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Minneapolis mayor imposes another curfew on Thursday

From CNN's Melissa Alonso

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks at a news conference on August 26 in Minneapolis.
Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey speaks at a news conference on August 26 in Minneapolis. Jerry Holt/Star Tribune/AP

Minneapolis Mayor Jacob Frey announced a citywide curfew will go into effect on Thursday amid unrest in the city. 

The curfew will begin tonight at 8 p.m. until 6 a.m. CT on Friday, Frey said at a briefing. 

"We will not tolerate deliberate and malicious destruction of our neighborhood and of our businesses," said Frey. 

"It is righteous to vent that pain and anguish in the form of peaceful protest. But, what happened last night was neither peaceful nor was it a form of protest that effectively moves us forward. Every person in every neighborhood in our entire city deserves to feel safe. What transpired yesterday does not bring us closer to safety" Frey said. 

 

1:41 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Former NBA player says Jared Kushner's comments on boycotts could be "a motivator"

From CNN's Adrienne Vogt

Former NBA player and sportscaster Len Elmore said that remarks from Jared Kushner, President Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, about the professional athletes' protests will serve as “a motivator.” 

Elmore said that boycotts can put pressure on owners and networks, which will in turn lead to pressure on state and federal politicians.

In an interview with CNBC, Kushner said, “The NBA players are very fortunate that they have the financial position where they're able to take a night off from work without having to have the consequences to themselves financially.”

NBA players have decided to resume playing, according to multiple outlets.

Elmore also said that he’s most impressed with “the unity” among different professional sports teams across the NBA, WNBA, MLS and MLB. 

“Now, the question is, will it sustain? Go from a boycott to more of a demand of their owners and others to exercise their influence to help try to affect change?” he added.

Elmore said such movements can be a springboard for athletes to become leaders back in their communities. 

“I think it's vitally important for them to make a decision as to whether or not they're going to go back to their hometowns, go back to their communities, and to be able to lead,” he said. 

Watch:

1:02 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Multiple NFL teams cancel practice to discuss social injustice

From CNN’s Dan Kamal

New York Jets personnel clear practice equipment after practice was canceled at the NFL football team's training camp in Florham Park, New Jersey, on August 27.
New York Jets personnel clear practice equipment after practice was canceled at the NFL football team's training camp in Florham Park, New Jersey, on August 27. Adam Hunger

Several NFL teams canceled practice Thursday to focus instead on conversations of social injustice in wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake by a police officer in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

The Denver Broncos joined the Arizona Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, the Washington football Team and New York Jets in forgoing practice to allow players to weigh in on what they and their respective teams can do to effect change.

After a practice earlier this week, Packers head coach Matt LaFleur told the media, “It’s amazing to me that this is still happening. So, we wanted to get our guys’ perspective and try to float around some ideas on how we can make a difference and use our platform, because things have to change."

“The social injustice, the police brutality, the antiquated laws, just to bring awareness to everybody that Black lives matter. We can’t stand for this any longer," he added.

In a Thursday statement, Washington head coach Ron Rivera said, “Friday we can return to football… In place of our practice at FedEx Field, the players, coaches and football staff will meet as a football family and we will continue our open dialogue on the issues of racism and social injustice in our country ... 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.” 

12:40 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

NBA players have decided to resume playoffs, according to reports

From CNN's David Close

Following a Thursday players meeting within the isolated Disney campus in Orlando, NBA players have decided to resume playing, according to multiple outlets.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski was the first to report the news. Wojnarowski also reports Thursday’s three playoff games will be postponed.

CNN has reached out to the league and the players union for confirmation and comment.

ESPN also reports that the season is expected to resume by the weekend and could be as early as Friday.  

 

12:16 p.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Pence disinvited from delivering commencement speech at Wisconsin college

From CNN's Betsy Klein 

Vice President Mike Pence accepts the vice presidential nomination during the Republican National Convention from Fort McHenry National Monument on August 26 in Baltimore, Maryland.
Vice President Mike Pence accepts the vice presidential nomination during the Republican National Convention from Fort McHenry National Monument on August 26 in Baltimore, Maryland. Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Vice President Mike Pence is no longer invited to deliver a commencement address to the graduates of Wisconsin Lutheran College amid ongoing unrest in Kenosha, Wisconsin, after Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by police. 

The Vice President had been slated to give the address on Saturday, according to a press release issued by his office Monday. The Christian college in Milwaukee, less than an hour Northeast of Kenosha, cited “escalating events” as the reason a different speaker would be presented.

“After further review with careful consideration of the escalating events in Kenosha, the WLC Board of Regents and the College's Administration have jointly decided to present a different speaker instead of the Vice President of the United States, Michael R. Pence, at the Saturday, August 29, 2020, commencement,” the college said in a statement Thursday. 

A spokesman for Pence confirmed he would no longer be speaking.

“Vice President Pence understands and supports Wisconsin Lutheran College’s decision to prioritize the safety and well-being of their students, and wishes the students well as they celebrate the accomplishment of graduating from college and as they embark on their next journey,” Pence’s press secretary Devin O’Malley told CNN in a statement. 

A local pastor, Rev. Mark Jeske of St. Marcus Lutheran Church in Milwaukee, will deliver the speech in Pence’s stead. 

The decision comes amid some vocal opposition from alumni and current students who penned a letter earlier this week, updated last night, renouncing Pence’s participation and claims from the college that the event was not political.

“We are concerned about the college’s blatantly inappropriate decision to invite the vice president to speak for this monumental event for the Class of 2020. Not only is the invitation disrespectful, but also the remarks provided by the college fail to recognize the reality of the decision,” the group wrote in an open letter

It also comes as the Trump administration has failed to substantively address the shooting of Jacob Blake and the protests that have ensued in the Milwaukee suburb. 

 

11:49 a.m. ET, August 27, 2020

Vice President Mike Pence may travel to Kenosha says his chief of staff

From CNN's Sam Fossum

Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, speaks to members of the media outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2019.
Marc Short, chief of staff to Vice President Mike Pence, speaks to members of the media outside the White House in Washington, D.C., on November 19, 2019. Zach Gibson/Bloomberg/Getty Images

In an interview with MSNBC, Marc Short, Chief of Staff to the Vice President, did not deny the possibility that Mike Pence may travel to Kenosha, Wisconsin. 

When asked if the Vice President had reached out to Jacob Blake's family, Short said there would be "additional outreach," but declined to provide specifics. 

"At this point there'll be additional outreach, Hallie, but I don't think he's spoken to them yet," he said. 

When pressed by MSNBC host Hallie Jackson, Short said: "I think that there will be conversations happening but I'm not offering anything to you right now to make news on that point today." 

And when asked if Pence may be traveling to Kenosha, Short said: "Perhaps, perhaps." 

Short was also pressed on the Vice President's speech at Fort McHenry last night.  

Asked why Pence's speech did not mention Jacob Blake by name, Short said, "The violence must stop, that was a universal statement.”

Short added: "It is time for the violence for end. We respect and honor people who peacefully protest. We want to protect those rights always, but at the same time burning down churches, burning down buildings, burning down business is not peaceful protest and it must end."