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Sports Saturday

Polling Place: Where do you stand on pros sitting out games in support of Black lives?

In 2020, sports fans have known nothing but disruption to their usual rooting routines. This time, though, it had nothing to do with the coronavirus.

NBA Games Postponed Due To Player Protest
The NBA halted play for three days as unrest persisted in Kenosha, Wis.
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

It happened in the NBA and the WNBA. It happened in the NHL and in MLB, too.

Across much of the sports world earlier this week, professional athletes sat out games — in some cases, playoff games — in support of Black lives as attention homed in on Kenosha, Wisconsin, where Jacob Blake was shot by police.

Actions were taken not only by individuals, but by entire teams. In basketball and hockey, entire days’ slates of games were postponed.

In 2020, sports fans have known nothing but disruption to their usual rooting routines. This time, though, it had nothing to do with the coronavirus.

Where do you stand on pros choosing not to work as a form of protest? That was the lead question in this week’s “Polling Place,” your home for Sun-Times sports polls on Twitter.

“You mean professional humans, right?” @RockstadSarah commented. “Glad I could clear that up for you.”

Yes, humans. Flesh, blood, hearts, minds, feelings. We get it. It’s kind of why we posed the question in the first place.

“As long as they don’t go overboard,” @outlawbooster wrote.

Put Outlaw in the I-feel-you-until-I-really-want-to-watch-some-ball camp.

Also this week, we asked about the upcoming NFL season — scheduled to start Sept. 10, with the Bears opening in Detroit on Sept. 13 — and the right-around-the-corner baseball playoffs. Will pandemic football work? Should baseball hit the bubble?

“No teams have to play minus key players [who] are out with COVID-19 and, of course, it’s much safer for the players and their families,” commented @brandon_hughes_, clearly in favor of a baseball bubble — and he had a lot of company among fellow voters.

On to the polls:

Poll No. 1: Broadly speaking, where do you stand on professional athletes sitting out games in support of Black lives?

Upshot: Less than one in five outright opposed to it? We’ve got to think that percentage would’ve been higher — by a lot — in the not-too-distant past. What does it mean? Do we not care so much about sports in these challenging times? Are we a more empathetic society? Are we more outraged? Whatever the explanation, it smells like progress.

Poll No. 2: How confident are you that the NFL season will start — and then stay — on schedule?

Upshot: We’re reminded of an old Jerry Seinfeld bit about how anyone can take a reservation, but the key to the whole operation is holding the reservation. The NFL can plan a full schedule, but will it deliver on it? Voters aren’t counting on it, which at least means they won’t be surprised if they turn on the TV for some Bears-Giants action in Week 2 and find a squeegee infomercial instead.

Poll No. 3: Should MLB adopt a bubble(s) model for the playoffs?

Upshot: There’s still lots to figure out. Will the eight “wild card” series be played at home ballparks? From there, will the American League and National League each have its own bubble, or bubbles? Where will the World Series take place? Yes, lots to figure out, but it does seem likely that baseball is headed for an NBA- or NHL-like solution. To the winner goes the bubbly!