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On August 23, 2020 in Kenosha, Wisconsin, police officer Rusten Shesky shot Jacob Blake seven times in front of three of his children in a viral video that shook our half-quarantined, half-protesting country with shock and horror.
Shesky was never charged for the shooting and two years later, Jacob Blake is breaking his silence.
“If they would’ve held that officer accountable for something, that riot wouldn’t have happened,” Blake said on Etan Thomas’ podcast, the Rematch. “Those two people who were killed [by Kyle Rittenhouse] would still be here. And the guy that killed them, y’all let him go? And a lot of people in the United States actually celebrating this kid beating a murder.”
The case of Jacob Blake and Kyle Rittenhouse made national news and further exposed an ever-widening gap between life for White and Black Americans.
Blake turned 31 on Saturday and is thankful to still be breathing. He is also grateful to the athletes who showed their support for him after the shooting.
“If that video [of the shooting] is not being taken by that person across the street, do we know if we even see that video?” LeBron James told reporters after the shooting. “We are scared as Black people in America. Black men, Black women, Black kids, we are terrified.”
After the viral video of Blake being shot reverberated through the country, the Milwaukee Bucks, whose home arena is 45 minutes from where Blake was shot, boycotted Game 5 of their 2020 playoff series. Other NBA playoff teams soon followed suit to bring attention to the recurring issue of police brutality against Black people.
The WNBA momentarily canceled their games as well. Blake remembers the love he received from the basketball world fondly during his battle to stay alive and recover.
Blake is gracious amid his recovery.
“I never had the chance to express my feelings about it so let me take the time now and tell [the athletes who supported me], thank you,” Blake said. “From the bottom of my heart. Thank you. They put their careers on the line, their reputations on the line to speak up.”
The Milwaukee Bucks also called his father, Jacob Blake Sr. and according to reports, Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo broke down crying in front of his teammates after talking to Jacob Sr.
The six-time All-Star later said talking to the Blake family was the greatest thing he did that season, which is no small feat considering Giannis was also named NBA MVP.
For a full recap of the powerful interview, check out The Guardian.