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Opinion: For Twins and others in Minneapolis, emotions are raw after another senseless killing

Bob Nightengale, USA TODAY
·5 min read
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My God, not again.

Not another senseless and tragic death.

Not another police officer killing an unarmed Black man in the Minneapolis area.

Last summer, it was a Minneapolis officer kneeling on the neck of George Floyd, 46, for nine minutes and 29 seconds, before he died.

This time, it was an officer from Brooklyn Center, a suburb of Minneapolis, who fatally shot a 20-year-old man, Daunte Wright, at a traffic stop.

"All of us, all of us, especially us in Minnesota right now,’’ said Minnesota Twins manager Rocco Baldelli, “are tired in a lot of ways of having these types of conversations. There's a huge disappointment and sadness when you have to wake up to these things. …

“I shouldn't say there's a disbelief, because I think we've seen these things happening around the country way too much, but it is very disappointing and very sad every time we see this."

Signage on the Target Field video board shows that Monday's game between the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins is postponed.
Signage on the Target Field video board shows that Monday's game between the Boston Red Sox and Minnesota Twins is postponed.

The Twins, after admitting fans Monday afternoon into their ballpark at downtown Target Field, realized it was senseless and inappropriate to play, later postponing their game against the Boston Red Sox.

“Our community has been through a lot,’’ Twins president Dave St. Peter said. “We have a [murder and manslaughter] trial taking place just blocks away from Target Field. Emotions across our community, emotions across our organization are raw. So based on the events of the last 24 hours, and as information has started to come to light, playing a baseball game today felt a little less important.

“When you add a level of public safety to that, particularly for fans, our players, our staff, we thought the decision we made today was the right call.

“History will maybe tell us otherwise, but today, this moment, we’re pretty confident we’re doing the right thing.’’

Really, it was the only thing. The Minnesota Timberwolves also postponed their NBA game against the Brooklyn Nets in downtown Minneapolis as well as the Minnesota Wild with their NHL game against the St. Louis Blues in St. Paul.

Who cares about sports when a 20-year-old, driving with his girlfriend in a family car given him two weeks ago, was pulled over for expired registration, and is shot dead minutes later?

“My heart is breaking for Daunte Wright's family and loved ones,’’ Sen. Amy Klobuchar tweeted. “There must be an immediate and transparent investigation into what happened and why a Black man's life was lost at the hands of law enforcement.’’

Brooklyn Center police are calling it an accidental shooting, saying that the officer may have intended to fire a Taser at Wright, not a real gun.

“This appears to be, from what I viewed, and the officer’s reaction and distress immediately after,’’ Brooklyn Center chief Tim Gannon said, “that this was an accidental discharge that resulted in a tragic death of Mr. Wright.’’

Whether it was an accidental or not, a young man with his whole life ahead of him is now dead.

“It’s a tough time right now,’’ Twins outfielder Jake Cave, “especially in Minnesota.’’

This hits everyone hard, no matter where you live. It’s why New York Yankees outfielder Aaron Hicks pulled himself out of the starting lineup Monday, needing time for reflection.

“With all that is going on in Minneapolis,’’ Yankees manager Aaron Boone says, “he's having a tough time right now. And I certainly support that. The situation is heartbreaking right now in Minneapolis, and it has hit Aaron particularly hard.

“Things that go on in society and in our culture spill over into athletics and these guys, rightfully so, have gained more and more of a platform to be able to express themselves.

“And I certainly support their right to do that.”

The Twins say there are no current plans to postpone the remaining three games of the series, but concede it will depend on potential unrest in the Twin Cities. A state of emergency has been declared in Minneapolis and St. Paul with a 7 p.m. curfew.

“There’s a big part of this decision,’’ St. Peter said, “that’s also rooted in safety and consultation with law enforcement about unknowns, about what will, or could transpire within the broader community over the next several hours.’’

Really, Monday’s postponement should be strictly out of respect for Wright’s family, not about potential unrest.

How can you sit in the stands and actually cheer, boo, or even care who wins a baseball, basketball, or hockey game at this point?

Daunte Wright lost his life. That’s the only loss that matters.

You keep praying these senseless deaths end, but for every parent with a Black son or daughter, you’re painfully aware that no police stop is ever routine.

Wright was pulled over for simply having expired registration tags. The police discovered he had a warrant for his arrest. He stepped outside the car, and when he stepped back in, there was a brief struggle, and he was shot.

So the idea that anyone is actually worried about the consequences of a baseball game, a basketball game and a hockey game being postponed in the Twin Cities is absurd and grossly insensitive.

This is a heartbreaking day throughout the entire country.

Another name, another victim, another senseless death.

Once again.

Follow Nightengale on Twitter: @Bnightengale

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Minnesota Twins, Timberwolves, Wild do right thing to postpone games