Update: The Galaxy released the following statement in regard to the strike Wednesday, supporting the players’ decision.
The LA Galaxy match vs. Seattle Sounders FC will not be played tonight as scheduled.
The LA Galaxy stand behind our players, the Black community and Los Angeles in the fight against systemic racism, social inequality and injustice.
Wednesday’s game between the LA Galaxy and Real Salt Lake will not be played at Dignity Health Sports Park, after the players went on strike in response to current events taking place in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
29-year-old Jacob Blake was shot in the back seven times by a police officer on Sunday in Kenosha, amid considerable outcry. The shooting led to sustained protests in the city, and on Tuesday, 17-year-old Kyle Rittenhouse shot three protesters, killing two, in Kenosha. There was major outcry as a result of the incidents, with Blake being a black man and Rittenhouse a white man, the latter not arrested until Wednesday after the shootings were widely publicized.
A press conference put on in Kenosha Wednesday afternoon seemed to compound the anger, and the NBA’s Milwaukee Bucks became the first team to go on strike in response, the players refusing to turn up for their playoff game against the Orlando Magic. The rest of the NBA teams scheduled to play Wednesday followed suit, as did all of the WNBA teams scheduled to play. In Major League Baseball, some games proceeded, while others did not and in the ones that did, individual players went on strike. USL games went ahead Wednesday.
I would like to editorialize for a moment, and I stand with the players. Watching the press conference in Kenosha Wednesday, with leaders refusing to even contend with the dual shootings that put the city in the national spotlight, while blaming protesters for being shot because they were present, was infuriating. As was Blake’s shooting to begin with.
It’s not easy to take a stand as MLS players. Most don’t rake in the money, the league is new enough that the rocky days weren’t too long ago, and going on strike is a huge risk. But I stand with the players, and I applaud their desire to give up doing what they are so good at for one night in order to bring wider attention to a situation in which racial inequality appears to be staring everyone in the face, and those in power refuse to see it. Meaningful change is hard, it is messy, and it is not fun. But it is needed, and well done by the players to help shine a light.