Minnesota’s professional sports teams with active seasons suspended their home games in the Twin Cities on Monday, after a police officer killed a 20-year-old Black man, Daunte Wright, during a traffic stop in a Minneapolis suburb just miles away from where former cop Derek Chauvin is being tried for murder in the death of George Floyd last May.
With a state of emergency and a 7 p.m. curfew established in Minneapolis and St. Paul, the Minnesota Twins were the first team to announce the suspension, stating that it is in the “best interests of our fans, staff, players, and community to not play today’s game” against the Boston Red Sox. “Our community has been through a lot,” Twins president Dave St. Peter told the Star Tribune. “We have a trial taking place just blocks away from Target Field. Emotions across our community, emotions across our organization are raw.”
Soon after, the Minnesota Timberwolves and Minnesota Wild suspended their respective games against the Brooklyn Nets and St. Louis Blues. “Yesterday’s tragic event, involving the life of Daunte Wright, once again leaves our community mourning,” the Timberwolves said in a statement, while the Wild offered “its deepest condolences to the family and friends of Daunte Wright.”
Last August, following the police shooting of Jacob Blake, Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League suspended games after National Basketball Association players announced just before tip-off that they would not play to protest the shooting, which left Blake paralyzed. The act, which constituted a wildcat strike, was organized by players, while the suspensions on Monday came from the teams’ management. However, it’s still possible that protests or player-led suspensions could ensue: New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks has reportedly told the team’s manager that he did not want to be in the lineup for the afternoon game.
The killing of Daunte Wright on Sunday took place after he was pulled over for driving a car with expired license-plate tags, according to the police chief of Brooklyn Center, a Minneapolis suburb. After police ran his license and found an outstanding misdemeanor warrant, body-cam footage showed an officer attempting to place him in handcuffs, Wright breaking free and getting in the driver’s seat, and an officer yelling, “Taser! Taser! Taser!” The officer fired one shot from her service gun, saying, “Holy shit, I just shot him,” as Wright drove off and crashed several blocks away. Officers administered first aid, but he died at the scene.