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Referees huddle on an empty court at game time of a scheduled game between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Orlando Magic in Lake Buena Vista, Florida. Photo: Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

All three NBA playoff games scheduled for Wednesday night were postponed after players said they were boycotting over the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The WNBA has also postponed three games.

Why it matters: The Milwaukee Bucks, who led Wednesday's protests, are the first NBA team to boycott a game in the wake of nationwide unrest over racism and police brutality. Many NBA players decided to participate in the league's coronavirus "bubble" experiment in order to use their platform to bring awareness to social justice issues.

  • The Bucks, who stayed in their locker room as the game was set to tip off, are just one game away from advancing from their opening-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic.
  • The decision comes amid growing outrage over the shooting of Blake on Sunday in Kenosha, a city 40 miles outside of Milwaukee.
  • Soon after the Bucks' players announced their decision, the Los Angeles Lakers-Portland Trailblazers and Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets games were also postponed.

The big picture: Shortly after the NBA announced its decision, the Milwaukee Brewers and Cincinnati Reds also moved to call off their game tonight. Other MLB teams are reportedly considering following suit.

What they're saying: Alex Lasry, senior vice president of the Milwaukee Bucks, tweeted, "Some things are bigger than basketball. The stand taken today by the players and org shows that we’re fed up. Enough is enough. Change needs to happen. I’m incredibly proud of our guys and we stand 100% behind our players ready to assist and bring about real change."

  • Bucks guard George Hill told ESPN's Undefeated, "We're tired of the killings and the injustice."
  • Lakers star Lebron James tweeted, "F*ck THIS MAN!!!! WE DEMAND CHANGE. SICK OF IT"
  • Other NBA players, including the Denver Nuggets' Jamal Murray, the Boston Celtics' Grant Williams, and the Utah Jazz's Donovan Mitchell also tweeted their support for the protest.

Read the full Bucks statement on their decision not to play.

Between the lines: "The NBA, owners and front offices didn't see this wave of player boycotts coming today," tweeted NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski. "Hours ago, they all expected to be playing these games tonight. This is a pivot point for the NBA and professional sports in North America."

What's next: NBA players will reportedly hold a meeting later on Wednesday to discuss next steps, per Wojnarowski.

Go deeper

Nov 4, 2020 - Sports

NFL steps up coronavirus protocols with new mask requirements

A view as the Baltimore Ravens play against the Washington Football Team at FedExField in October in Landover, Md. Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The NFL sent a memo to teams on Tuesday alerting them to stepped-up precautions against COVID-19, including on face masks and social distancing, the NFL Network first reported.

The big picture: As coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., the Baltimore Ravens placed seven defensive players on the reserve/COVID-19 list Tuesday following cornerback Marlon Humphrey's positive test. Under the new protocols, the NFL will require masks be worn during physical interactions postgame and is advising teams to ask players to wear face coverings on the sidelines and in locker rooms.

Go deeper: Most NFL games had fans this week

Biden's Day 1 challenges: Systemic racism

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Kirsty O'Connor (PA Images)/Getty Images

Advocates are pushing President-elect Biden to tackle systemic racism with a Day 1 agenda that includes ending the detention of migrant children and expanding DACA, announcing a Justice Department investigation of rogue police departments and returning some public lands to Indigenous tribes.

Why it matters: Biden has said the fight against systemic racism will be one of the top goals of his presidency — but the expectations may be so high that he won't be able to meet them.

Caitlin Owens, author of Vitals
2 hours ago - Health

Most Americans are still vulnerable to the coronavirus

Adapted from Bajema, et al., 2020, "Estimated SARS-CoV-2 Seroprevalence in the US as of September 2020"; Cartogram: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

As of September, the vast majority of Americans did not have coronavirus antibodies, according to a new study published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Why it matters: As the coronavirus spreads rapidly throughout most of the country, most people remain vulnerable to it.