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'It's Bad' Says Sporting KC Player As Kansas City Sports Teams Speak Out But Decide To Practice Foll

Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.
Jamie Squire
Getty Images
Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.

Kansas City Chiefs coach Andy Reid knew his players had already been talking about Sunday's police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The officer shot Blake seven times in the back in front of his children, paralyzing the 29-year-old from the waist down.

“One of the great advantages I’ve got here is I’ve got a great locker room that communicates, so I’m able to talk to the guys and get a feel with the guys.”

Reid also tweeted about the racial injustice roiling the nation and the need for understanding.

Chiefs defensive back Tyrann Matthieu has been among the most outspoken on social media since the shooting. The day after Blake was shot Matthieu tweeted, “...they shot that man 7 times...why can’t 3 officers subdue one male?”

The Detroit Lions became the first NFL team to pause their preseason practices in observance of the Blake shooting. Since then, other teams like Green Bay, Chicago, Washington, Indianapolis, Tennessee and the New York Jets have followed.

The Chiefs weren’t among them, but Reid got out front with the Chiefs reaction to the shooting after Wednesday's practice, saying the team is concerned but planning to continue to practice.

“My heart goes out to Jacob (Blake) and his family in that situation,” said Reid. “I don’t know the whole story, but I hate seeing the way things are going right now.”

The Milwaukee Bucks led a historic boycott Wednesday night, deciding not to play basketball in the wake of the Blake shooting and protests which were marred by a 17-year-old with an affinity for right-wing militias and guns shot and killed two of the protesters in Kenosha. Other professional teams followed the Bucks lead, creating a ripple effect throughout the sports world.

Five of Major League Soccer’s six Wednesday night games, which didn’t affect Sporting Kansas City, were also postponed. One of them was Colorado, the team that Sporting faces on the road this Saturday.

“We’re preparing as if we’re going to play,” said Sporting manager Peter Vermes. “If we don’t, we as a staff, I think, have already done a pretty good job of adapting and adjusting to situations. We’re going as business as usual.”

Before Sporting Kansas City’s Tuesday night home match at Children’s Mercy Park against Houston, players from both teams--SKC and the Houston Dynamo--wore T-shirts with “Black Lives Matter” emblazoned during warmups. During the national anthem, all of the Sporting players were on one knee, some with raised fists in the air.

“It hurts a little bit, especially me being a young Black man seeing people of my skin tone getting killed. It’s bad,” said Gianluca Busio, 18, after the match.

The Royals continued their schedule, concluding a three-game series in St. Louis Wednesday night.

When asked if the Royals considered a boycott from playing their game in St. Louis. Royals veteran Whit Merrifield said, “It was never discussed that we’re not going to play the game."

The Royals will move on with their road trip to Chicago on Friday after a Thursday off-day in The Windy City.

Copyright 2021 KCUR 89.3. To see more, visit KCUR 89.3.

Ever since he set foot on the baseball diamond at Fernwood Park on Chicago's South Side, Greg Echlin began a love affair with the world of sports. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, he worked as a TV sports anchor and a radio sportscaster in Salina, Kansas. He moved to Kansas City in 1984 and has been there since covering sports. Through the years, he has covered multiple Super Bowls, Final Fours and Major League Baseball's World Series and All-Star games.