US sport protests against racial injustice continue with Astros-Athletics walk-off

The three-game series between the Houston Astros and Oakland Athletics has been delayed after players from both sides walked off the field as protests against racial injustice in the US continued on Friday.

Astros and Athletics players took to the field wearing the No 42 jersey of Jackie Robinson, who in 1947 became the first black MLB player of the modern era, before laying No 42 jerseys in the batting boxes and a Black Lives Matter T-shirt on home plate.

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The players then acknowledged each other before returning to their dugouts and into their clubhouses. The series will instead begin on Saturday with a double header.

The Astros-Athletics postponement followed three baseball games being postponed on Wednesday and seven being called off on Thursday.

A series of major sporting events in the United States were called off on Wednesday after athletes spoke out in the aftermath of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

The NHL and the competition’s players’ association have announced that play-off fixtures scheduled for Thursday and Friday will be postponed and nine NFL teams cancelled training on Thursday, two weeks before the season begins on September 10.

Thursday’s basketball matches between the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets, the Toronto Raptors and the Boston Celtics, and the LA Clippers and the Dallas Mavericks have since followed suit, while three WNBA fixtures have also been postponed.

US president Donald Trump said of the NBA: “They’ve become like a political organisation and that’s not a good thing. I don’t think that’s a good thing for sports or for the country.

Meanwhile, former world No 1 tennis player Naomi Osaka will play in the final of the Western & Southern Open in New York against Viktoria Azarenka on Saturday after reversing her decision to withdraw.

The 22-year-old initially dropped out of her semi-final against Elise Mertens, saying “before I am an athlete, I am a black woman”, but opted to return to the tournament and beat the 14th seed on Friday.

The PGA Tour tournament in Chicago – less than 100 miles from Kenosha – began as scheduled. American golfer Cameron Champ – who has a black father and a white mother – wore one black and one white shoe. On the white shoe he had written ‘Jacob Blake BLM’.

NFL: We are proud of our clubs

The NFL has issued a statement supporting the decision of several of their clubs to cancel practice as a protest against the shooting of Jacob Blake.

The statement said: “The NFL community is united more than ever to support one another in these challenging times. We share anger and frustration, most recently as a result of the shooting of Jacob Blake.

“While our passions continue to run high, we are proud that our players and clubs, league and union, are taking time to have the difficult conversations about these issues that affect the black community and other communities of colour in America. We are especially encouraged that these conversations are about how we can come together to make the necessary and long overdue changes in our country.

“We will continue to not only use our collective platform to call out racism and injustice whenever and wherever it occurs in our country, but also fight together to eradicate it.”

On Friday, Tom Brady said he is learning from his new Tampa Bay Buccaneers teammates about what can be done to eradicate social injustice on a daily basis.

He said: “I think everyone makes the choices that they feel are best for them and I think everybody is very sensitive of everything that’s happening.

“The communication that we have on a daily basis about social injustice is important for all of us. Just trying to continue to listen and learn, to certainly the guys on my team and guys that I connect with, and do as much as we can to help things going forward.”

MLS to investigate Salt Lake owner’s alleged racist comments

Major League Soccer will investigate allegations made in a report that Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen used racist language.

Hansen has come under fire after criticising players for refusing to take the field in protest against racial injustice following the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha.

“We are deeply concerned about the allegations made in a report published this evening concerning language used by, and the conduct of, Real Salt Lake owner Dell Loy Hansen,” MLS said in a statement.

“Major League Soccer has zero tolerance for this type of language or conduct and will immediately commence an investigation.”

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