The Atlanta Dream and Atlanta United have joined several other teams nationwide in refusing to play scheduled games this week, in solidarity with Black Lives Matter protests against police brutality and the recent shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot seven times in the back at close range by a white officer on Sunday. His family members say he is paralyzed from the waist down and handcuffed to his hospital bed.
The U.S. Justice Department announced Wednesday that it would investigate the shooting.
David Rice is a professor of psychology at Morehouse College whose research focuses on identity and self-constructs.
He talked about a history of sports activism, the responsibility athletes of color may feel to their communities as they stand on a pedestal, and how sports can no longer be separated from political discourse and the Black Lives Matter movement.
Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams read a powerful statement Wednesday night on ESPN after the WNBA team decided not to play.
“While we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep a focus on the issues and demand change,” Williams said.
That same night, the Washington Mystics stood on the court wearing Blake shirts with seven bullet holes in the back.