New York Liberty release statement amidst WNBA’s “day of reflection”

The New York Liberty have released a statement in support of social justice in the midst of Thursday’s postponements in the WNBA.

The New York Liberty have released a statement in the wake of ongoing demonstrations against racial injustice across the professional sports leagues of the United States.

The statement opens with the names of African-American victims of systemic racism and how long it has has been since the respective crimes. Perpetrators of the crimes in question, particularly have yet to face legal repercussions.

“While we will not take the court today, we will continue to stay loud in our pursuit of justice. The New York Liberty organization stand in solidarity with our players and demand justice for #JacobBlake, #GeorgeFloyd, #BreonnaTaylor, #AhmaudArbery, and the many human lives affected by brutal police encounters. We will not be silenced. All lives can’t matter until Black lives matter.”

New York was originally set to play on Thursday night against the Dallas Wings, but the WNBA has confirmed that no games will be held. Three games were scheduled for Thursday in the league’s Bradenton bubble, including one between the Chicago and Indiana and a late-night tilt featuring Las Vegas and Seattle. All postponed games, including three others from Wednesday, will be rescheduled.

Thursday was set to be the Liberty’s annual “UNITY Day” game, with a special focus on social justice. The team hosted a panel on Wednesday late afternoon, featuring guard Layshia Clarendon. New York was among the country’s first professional sports teams to publicly advocate for social justice, wearing warm-up shirts reading “#BlackLivesMatter” prior to a 2016 game.

Each of the WNBA’s dozen teams has worn uniforms bearing the name of Breonna Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers executing a no-knock search warrant. The officers in question have not been arrested.

“As the injustices persist, so does the work,” the statement says. “Today marks what should have been the Liberty’s 4th annual UNITY Day game which is devoted to telling Breonna Taylor’s story and highlighting the #SayHerName campaign. In light of today’s protest, our UNITY Day will be rescheduled at a later date.”

Clarendon was among WNBA representatives who spoke with ESPN’s Holly Rowe about the decision not to play. Each of the players present wore shirts calling for the arrest of Taylor’s killers. The team has united with the #SayHerName campaign for thier 2020 bubble proceedings to spread awareness and information of racial injustice and to encourage voting in national and local elections.

“It is important to note that this is not a strike, this is not a boycott. This is affirmatively a day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization,” Los Angeles Sparks forward and WNBPA President Nneka Ogwumike said. “Today, we call upon Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron to arrest the officers that killed Breonna Taylor. Today, we call upon Wisconsin Attorney General Josh Kaul to investiage the officers that were involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake.”

Those stationed at the Bradenton bubble also hosted a players-only meeting and candlelit vigil.

Members of the Liberty have continued to speak out against racial injustice throughout the year. The incident involving Blake in Kenosha, Minnesota has been no exception.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

Jets cancel practice, stand behind protests for greater change in society

New York Jets

Following in suit of the NBA, some MLB teams, the Lions, the Washington Football Team, and the Colts, the New York Jets have canceled today’s practice. As teams continue to formulate their responses to the Jacob Blake shooting that occurred in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the Jets have been the latest to cancel practice as a way of protesting for greater change.

Yesterday, current Owner Christopher Johnson addressed the team in wake of the shooting as Connor Hughes of The Athletic wrote:

“Christopher Johnson spoke to Jets about the Blake shooting — this after he gave every member of team his cell number to talk about social injustice whenever they need someone. ‘You just don’t see that’, coach Frank Bush says. ‘It is rare. It’s a rare situation.’”

Johnson has shown he won’t take a nonresponsive stance towards the current state of our country which is something that no doubt carried over to the decision to cancel practice.

Another factor in that decision was the player’s outcry. Yesterday in speaking to the media, new safety Bradley McDougald and slot wide receiver Jamison Crowder both were incredibly passionate about the need for change within our country and our communities. Their heads are evidently and understandably focused on a much bigger societal issue and football should no doubt come second to that right now.

So, with a little over two weeks until the Jets take the field, they’ve joined the rest of the pro sports world in taking a stance against social injustice. Where this heads in terms of professional sports returning and the impact it makes remains to be seen. One thing is for sure, just like everything else going on in 2020, this is one for the history books.

New York Jets issue public statement on national protests

New York Jets

In the wake of current events, the New York Jets have called for unity in a statement released on the team’s social media accounts.

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Statement from the New York Jets

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The New York Jets have issued a statement in the wake of the ongoing nationwide protests against police brutality and injustice. These protests have occurred in all 50 states after video emerged of a white Minneapolis police officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd for nearly nine minutes during an arrest. An independent autopsy has ruled Floyd’s subsequent death a homicide and the four officers involved in the incident have since been fired and are facing charges.

Their statement, released on Wednesday, called for unity and also extended a promise to part of the solution to systematic racism.

“We have seen the many protests around the country,” the statement reads in part. “In our own cities and neighborhoods which represent an expression of the passion, anguish, and real-life impact of the social and racial injustices that continue to exist in our society. After years of so many tragedies which brought us to this point, we need to also focus on the powerful images of protestors and law enforcement working together in efforts to connect. America is a place where meaningful change can be achieved if we all work together to address the root causes and remedies for these problems.”

“We will not waste this opportunity to create programs and partnerships of which we, along with the community, can look back on years from now and be proud.”

The Jets’ statement also reveals that players, coaches, and management met on Monday to discuss their “ability to unite (their) communities”.

“We spoke about this unique moment in time, how we need to use our powerful platform toward positive change,” the statement read. “We must raise awareness and address the serious inequities which we have been painfully reminded still exist.”

Jets players have individually taken to Twitter to express their thoughts. Safety Jamal Adams released a statement of his own on Monday night, sending condolences to the families of Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, African-Americans who were each killed in racist hate crimes.

“They’re more than just hashtags,” Adams said in an emotional statement. “It’s disgusting that we don’t have time to deal with our trauma before the next tragedy. We can’t let these conversations die and cant’ forget those we’ve lost. Stop killing us. This isn’t just a political issue, this is about the morality of our nation. We all have a part to play!” Adams later criticized New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, who said he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country” when asked about the potential of players kneeling in a protest demonstration during the national anthem during the upcoming season. Such demonstrations were started by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has not been signed by an NFL team since his release after the 2016 season.

Running back Le’Veon Bell has likewise spoken on social media.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags