Wisconsin professional sports teams, players and coaches were vocal Monday about what happened over the weekend in Kenosha.
Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man, was shot in the back seven times by a police officer while allegedly retreating to his car after an altercation with officers. Blake reportedly is in stable condition and the officers involved have been placed on administrative leave.
Civil rights attorney Ben Crump took to Twitter on Sunday with a statement about the shooting, suggesting Blake was checking on his three young children, who were sitting in the car where the shooting occurred, after “helping to deescalate a domestic incident.”
The matter is under investigation, but video of the shooting reignited protests against police brutality and racism that swept the nation following the unarmed deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor and Ahmaud Arbery.
The outrage extended to Wisconsin’s professional sports teams. Here’s what some had to say:
Milwaukee Bucks guard George Hill:
“It’s just sickening. It’s heartless. It’s a (expletive)-up situation. Like I said, you’re supposed to look at the police to protect and serve. Now, it’s looked at harass or shoot,” Hill said, via ESPN. “To almost take a guy’s life. Thank God he’s still alive. I know the cops are probably upset he’s still alive, because I know they surely tried to kill him. But to almost take a man’s life, especially in front of one’s kids, that wasn’t resisting, in his back at point-blank range, is a heartless and gutless situation. We need some justice for that.
“We can’t do anything. First of all, we shouldn’t have even came to this damn place, to be honest. I think coming just here took all the focal points off what the issues are. But we’re here, so it is what it is,” Hill said, referring to the NBA bubble. “We can’t do anything from right here, but I think definitely, when it’s all settled, some things have to be done. I think this world has to change. I think our police department has to change. Us as society has to change. And, right now we’re not seeing any of that. Lives are being taken, as we speak, day in and day out, and there’s no consequence or accountability for it, and that’s what has to change.”
Milwaukee Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer:
“Just like to send out my thoughts and prayers to Jacob Blake and his family, another young Black man shot by a police officer,” Budenholzer said, via ESPN. “We need to have change. We need to be better. And I’m hoping for the best for him and his family. I’m hoping for the best as we work through this in Wisconsin and Milwaukee and Kenosha. So thoughts and prayers for Jacob Blake.
“We have a playoff game that’s very important to us, but an incident like this is more important than anything we’re doing in Orlando. And I think there was a lot of talk before we came here that we need to continue this conversation. We need to be better as a country and have no more of these incidents and understand that Black lives matter.”
Milwaukee Bucks Organization:
Milwaukee Brewers manager Craig Counsell:
“We have a systemic problem that we need to address,” Counsell said, while wearing a Black Lives Matter T-shirt, via ESPN. “And we all need to educate ourselves. I think it’s important that we continue to think, continue to pursue policy change, continue to act. Because there’s violence happening that absolutely should not be happening. And we can’t stay quiet about it.
“Our community is hurting. Our community is in for a rough couple of days… I think we have to be a voice right now. And encourage people to understand what’s happening. And understand points that you don’t agree with.”
Milwaukee Brewers Organization:
Milwaukee Bucks shooting guard Khris Middleton:
“This isn’t the first time this happened in my community. I’ve had two incidents in Charleston, South Carolina, with the shooting in the church and then the shooting of an unarmed black man running away from the police a couple years ago,” Middleton said, via ESPN. “We’re doing everything we can, but at the end of the day, it’s up to our lawmakers, it’s up to our police department to stop shooting us. It’s that simple. It’s that. They’re there to provide safety. There’s different ways to de-escalate situations than shooting someone, especially running away or in the back.”
Green Bay Packers organization:
“The Packers organization was shocked to see the video that showed police shooting Jacob Blake multiple times in the back. We are hopeful Jacob makes a full recovery, and our thoughts are with his family.
“While we understand a full investigation of this terrible incident will take place, we are deeply troubled at what again has become a painful example of the significant challenges we face with respect to police brutality, systemic racism and injustices against Black people. We continue to call for meaningful dialogue to affect the needed change we all desire.”