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Nets-Timberwolves postponed after police shooting of Daunte Wright

The Memphis Grizzlies play the Minnesota Timberwolves at

The Memphis Grizzlies play the Minnesota Timberwolves at an empty Target Center arena for a preseason NBA game on Dec. 14, 2020, in Minneapolis. Credit: AP/Bruce Kluckhohn

The NBA, the NHL and Major League Baseball postponed games scheduled to take place Monday in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area because of the fatal police shooting of a Black man and the possibility that event might provoke civil unrest that could endanger public safety.

The Nets were scheduled to meet the Timberwolves on Monday night at Target Center in Minneapolis, the Blues were to face off against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center in St. Paul, and the Red Sox were set to begin a four-game series against the Twins at Target Field in Minneapolis.

During a routine traffic stop, a police officer shot and killed 20-year-old Daunte Wright on Sunday in Brooklyn Center, which is a Minneapolis suburb. According to the Brooklyn Center police chief, the shooting was accidental. The officer involved allegedly intended to fire a stun gun during a struggle with Wright but grabbed a handgun instead. Police were trying to arrest Wright on an outstanding warrant.

The shooting sparked a violent protest in which police in riot gear clashed with demonstrators from Sunday night into Monday morning. The political atmosphere in Minneapolis is charged right now because of the ongoing trial of police officer Derek Chauvin, who is the first of four officers charged for his role in the death of George Floyd in May.

 

In announcing the Nets-Timberwolves postponement, the NBA issued a statement in which it said it took action "in light of the tragic events in the Minneapolis area" after consulting with the Timberwolves along with state and local officials. The Timberwolves issued a similar statement in which they said Wright’s death "once again leaves our community mourning. The NBA and Timberwolves both extended their sympathies to the Wright family.’’

The Nets were in Minneapolis at the time of the postponement and were waiting to see if it might be rescheduled for Tuesday before their next game Wednesday in Philadelphia. On Sunday, it was announced that Kyrie Irving would miss the game to attend to a family matter. A spokesman emphasized on Monday that Irving’s absence was strictly for personal reasons and not political reasons.

According to a statement from the NHL’s Wild, their game against the Blues was postponed "out of respect for the community." It has been rescheduled for May 12.

MLB’s Twins issued a statement saying the postponement was "out of respect for the tragic events that occurred [Sunday]." They offered no word as of Monday evening about whether the game will be rescheduled and said nothing about the status of games set for Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

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