St. Louis Cardinals outfielder Dexter Fowler has never been a fan favorite.Regardless of his stature as the game's best young pitcher, ace Jack Flaherty probably assured on Wednesday night that he never will be either.Both black men boycotted the Cardinals' 6-5 win over the Kansas City Royals in protest of the police shooting of unarmed Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisc., on Sunday. The social media negative reaction has, expectedly, been overwhelmingly harsh.Post-Dispatch sports columnist Ben Hochmann reported early Thursday that Fowler had spoke via text with beat writer Derrick Goold."Tonight I decided to take a stance alongside the Black community and athletes across the country in our continued fight against police brutality and systemic racism. While this is an extremely personal issue, I am hopeful that my small action can shed light on the larger issues that are ongoing throughout the country," Fowler reportedly shared.“I’m forever grateful and lucky to be a Major League Baseball player, but tonight, I needed to use my platform for something bigger than me and bigger than the game.”The landmark day in American sports history began with rumblings that several NBA teams were considering boycotting Wednesday payoff games.The Milwaukee Bucks then voted to boycott the game against the Orlando Magic. The NBA then decided to postpone the other games scheduled for Wednesday, as well.The WNBA followed suit with its slate of regular season games. And then came the shockers.The Milwaukee Brewers announced the game against the visiting Cincinnati Reds would not be played. Soon afterwards, the Los Angeles Dodgers at San Francisco Giants and Seattle Mariners at San Diego Padres were also postponed.Reportedly, the vote was unanimous by Brewers and Reds players to boycott the game.As for the Cardinals, the team released a statement saying Fowler and Flaherty “decided to stand in solidarity with other players throughout Major League Baseball. The Cardinals Organization supports their decisions.”The group decided to play,” manager Mike Shildt said.“(But) we support (Fowler) and Jack. I will stand behind anything this clubhouse decides.”Former Cardinal and current Chicago Cubs outfielder Jason Heyward informed manger David Ross that he was boycotting the game late Wednesday afternoon. Earlier in the day, he posted a photo of him at Wrigley Field wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt."I feel like I need to be part of this, or I’m going back on my word,” said Heyward, who is one of 124 current or former Black players comprising the Players Alliance.Ross would later say while holding back tears, "“I can’t imagine what he’s going through,”Given the pain in the communities of Wisconsin and beyond following the shooting of Jacob Blake, we respect the decisions of a number of players not to play tonight," Major League Baseball said in a statement. "Major League Baseball remains united for change in our society and we will be allies in the fight to end racism and injustice.”Brewers All-Star Christian Yelich, one of the most respeccted players in baseball said, "It's been an eye-opening few months."“We’ve talked about what these shirts mean we’ve been wearing. There comes a time where you have to live it.”NBA studio host Kenny Smith made a statement in support of the boycotts and walked off the TNT network set on Wednesday night.An emotional Chris Webber, also an NBA analyst, said, “This has never happened before."“But I’m sure Dr. Harry Edwards, John Carlos, Arthur Ashe, Jackie Robinson and others have been praying for this day.”The NBA Board of Governors (owners and NBA executives) and NBA players were scheduled to meet separately on Thursday. The fate of the remainder of the season could be decided.Also, the New York Jets and Indianapolis Colts cancelled practice on Thursday as management and players planned to meet and discuss social justice issues.Both Fowler and Flaherty said they will be on the active roster on Thursday. But the reverberations of their actions, and all players that boycotted on Wednesday, will forever be remembered.Fowler won't be a Cardinal next season - that's guaranteed. As for Flaherty, my guess is that he will soon want to wear another uniform. Cardinal Nation will see to it.The NBA Board of Governors (owners and NBA executives) and NBA players were scheduled to meet separately on Thursday. By midday, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported that players voted to resume the season this week. Thursday's three playoff games are postponed. The games are expected to return by weekend's close.
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