On Monday night, Target Field was empty. The Target Center was barren and the Xcel Energy Center housed nothing but an empty sheet of ice.
The Minnesota Twins, Timberwolves and Wild all postponed their games Monday night following the police shooting of Daunte Wright.
Wright, a 20-year-old Black man, was shot by police during a traffic stop in the Minneapolis suburb of Brooklyn Center.
According to the Brooklyn Center police chief, the shooting was accidental, as the officer involved attempted to fire a stun gun, not a handgun. Police were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant.
Wright’s death was ruled a homicide by the Hennepin County Medical Examiner’s office. The officer, Kim Potter, resigned Tuesday.
A warrant shouldn’t be a death sentence. What matters now is that a young man is dead.
The professional sports teams of Minnesota deserve praise for their decision. A decision made following “tragic events” according to the Twins’ statement and one that “once again leaves out community mourning,” as said in the Timberwolves’ statement.
If there is one thing we’ve learned in this past year, it’s that sports can stop and there are things bigger than the game.
Sometimes we need to press pause and look at our society.
A Monday afternoon game between the Twins and Red Sox really doesn’t matter.
Another Black man has been murdered by police, in the same city where George Floyd was killed by Derek Chauvin on May 25, 2020.
Chauvin’s trail is currently occurring about eight blocks from Target Field.
Enough is enough: the senseless murder of Black Americans needs to stop.
Our country needs change now, and at the heart of this change is hopefully going to be professional sports teams.
Long gone are the ludicrous “shut up and dribble” comments. Athletes shouldn’t just stick to sports.
This one-day pause by the teams in Minnesota will hopefully make people realize the epidemic of racist violence in our country.
San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters the shooting made “you sick to your stomach.”
“How many times does it have to happen?” Popovich told reporters Monday. “As sick to our stomachs as we might feel, the individual is dead. He’s dead. And his family is grieving and friends are grieving. And we just keep moving on as if nothing is happening.”
The Minnesota teams proved Monday, we aren’t going to ignore this issue anymore, we aren’t going to keep going on with our day-to-day activities like nothing is wrong.
This is the new normal.
A normal that hopefully spurs a conversation, a normal that hopefully spurs change.
Just in the past year, the MLB All-Star Game was moved from Atlanta due to a new law that restricts voting access and NBA players boycotted playoff games to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake.
At Penn State, current and former athletes like Lamar Stevens, CJ Thorpe, Olivia Jack and Audra Koopman were involved in activism efforts throughout the spring and summer.
Although this is a shift in the right direction, our nation has a long way to go to solve this problem of police violence. We have a long way to go in order to confront and overcome systematic racism.
Until concrete actions are taken, history will unfortunately repeat itself.
We still have a long way to go to ensure Wright is the last victim of this senseless, race-fueled violence.