Phillies, Flyers game won't be played Thursday in response to Jacob Blake shooting

Friday, August 28, 2020
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The Phillies and Nationals players have collectively decided to postpone Thursday night's game to stand in solidarity with other leagues protesting the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- The Philadelphia Phillies and Washington Nationals players have collectively decided to postpone Thursday night's game to stand in solidarity with other leagues protesting the recent police shooting of Jacob Blake in Wisconsin.

"The Phillies and Nationals players have collectively decided to postpone tonight's game. We support their decision to use their platform to call attention to the racial and social injustice that continues to exist in our country. We will continue to stand behind our players and those on the front lines working to generate accountability and real change in our society," the team said in a statement.

Phillies manager Joe Girardi says, "I was proud of them and I'm in full support."

Phillies players met around at 1 p.m. Thursday in a 30-minute meeting led by Rhys Hoskins. At first, some were divided but in the end they made the decision to support racial equality.

"Whatever decision was made, we wanted to make sure it was made as one," Hoskins says.

The NHL hit the brakes on playoff games Thursday and Friday, including games between the New York Islanders and Philadelphia Flyers, and the Vegas Golden Knights and Vancouver Canucks.

The other postponed games were Game 4s on Friday: Boston against Tampa in Toronto, and Dallas against Colorado in Edmonton.

The NHL is pushing back its schedule to have the four games played Saturday.

READ MORE: Protest held in Philadelphia for Jacob Blake who was shot by police in Wisconsin

Philadelphia sport psychologist Dr. Joel Fish believes this movement is here to stay.

"I think part of fans' reactions are just getting used to the fact that athletes are speaking out now in a way they've never done before and that's going to take getting used to for some people."

He also thinks this is just the beginning.

"I think you're going to bring in a whole new set of people who are really interested in the platforms of what these athletes have to say," said Fish.

Most fans in the Philadelphia region say they support the move by the players.

"What more of a statement can you ask for honestly. You are going to get the owners and everybody paying attention," said Joe Sawa of Ardmore.

"When something is not right you have to stand up and say something and that is exactly what they are doing," said Craig Walker of Ardmore.

"We talk about peaceful protest, they have tried and tired in different ways, maybe this will make the difference. I think it is a good thing," said Michele Vinick of Wayne.

Across the NBA and other sports leagues, players are demanding the country do better when it comes to race relations.

"It's very troubling. It's very troubling. We play a beautiful game which brings so many families together and for people to be able to rejoice and enjoy it, but at the same time, never losing track of what's really going on in our world, especially here in America," said NBA star Lebron James.

The WNBA also postponed games. The NBA says it hopes to resume games Friday or Saturday.

The Philadelphia 76ers are also weighing in, posting on Twitter," Almost three months to the day of George Floyd's murder, our country is reeling from the shooting of another Black man -- Jacob Blake. Last night, players across our League stood up with one unified voice and said enough is enough. We stand in solidarity with the players and support them in demanding action. This has to end now."

The Philadelphia Union released a statement that said in part, "We are united with our players, staff and the Philadelphia community in demanding accountability for racial injustice."

The Eagles did hold practice Thursday but had a team meeting about race relations.

"We want to see real change. I know the NBA and everyone is using their platform to create that change and some fans might not like it but at the end of the day, there is a hurting community and we want to reach out and respond to that hurt," said Eagles quarterback Carson Wentz.

"We just have to know that we got to have change, It's going to happen. It's been happening and we just got to figure out a way to change it," said Eagles safety, Jalen Mills.

The Eagles will hold a social justice meeting Friday as they look to fight racism collectively. Owner Jeffrey Lurie is expected to take part in that meeting along with general manager Howie Roseman.

Sports fans say they want to see games played but understand the outcry for justice.

"When you have a stage like that and you use that stage to promote change in this country, I am all for it. These days, I think everybody understands something needs to change," said Sawa.

ESPN contributed to this report.