The April 11 killing of 20-year-old Daunte Wright, a Black father of one, at the hands of Officer Kim Potter in Brooklyn Center, Minnesota, has led to unrest throughout the state and further outrage with police violence against Black people in the United States. After wrestling with the question of whether to proceed with the status quo, the NBA eventually decided to postpone Monday’s home game between the Minnesota Timberwolves and the Brooklyn Nets.
Shortly after the NBA made the announcement, the Timberwolves and the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx took to Twitter to offer their “sincere sympathies to the family of Daunte Wright.”
Minnesota’s volatile climate surrounding violent deaths of Black persons by law enforcement led other professional sports leagues to cancel their Monday night games as well. MLB’s Minnesota Twins posted on Twitter, “Out of respect for the tragic events that occurred yesterday in Brooklyn Center,… [we] have decided it is in the best interest of our fans, staff, players, and community to not play today’s game [versus the Boston Red Sox].” The NHL also followed suit, as the matchup between the Minnesota Wild and the St. Louis Blues was rescheduled to May 12.
Wright’s death figuratively pours gasoline on an already raging fire as the state of Minnesota remains on edge with the trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin entering its third week. The suburb of Brooklyn Center is also approximately 17 minutes from where George Floyd was pinned to the ground with Chauvin’s knee in his neck for more than eight minutes on May 25 of 2020, and George subsequently died. Brooklyn Center is also only twenty minutes away from where Philando Castile was shot and killed by officer Jeronimo Yanez in 2016. Yanez was eventually cleared of all charges.
In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Brooklyn Center mayor Mike Elliott said, “My city is grieving, my state is grieving, the nation is grieving… we’ve seen this one too many times. He continued to tell Hayes, “It seems [like] every week I get a phone call from another Black man who has been impacted by a stop involving our officers… Tonight, we’re asking the same question you’re all asking: ‘How is it that we’re still here after the murder of George Floyd?’”