Sports world reacts to Kyle Rittenhouse not guilty verdict in Kenosha protest shooting

Kyle Rittenhouse, the teenager who shot and killed two men and wounded a third during the protests and rioting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, was found not guilty by a jury on all charges on Friday. It drew reactions from athletes, many of whom had walked out of games last summer following the police shooting of Jacob Blake that prompted the protests. 

Rittenhouse, who is white, was 17 in August 2020. He had an AR-style semiautomatic rifle and shot at demonstrators during the protests.Joseph Rosenbaum, 36, and Anthony Huber, 26, died, and Gaige Grosskreutz, who was 26, was injured. All three are white. 

Rittenhouse faced five felony counts, including first-degree intentional homicide. The misdemeanor charge of possession of a dangerous weapon by a person under 18 was dropped by the judge on Monday. His lawyers argued that Rittenhouse acted in self-defense while the prosecution argued he instigated the shootings, per New York Times reporting of the trial.

The shooting of Blake, a Black man left partly paralyzed, spurred protests around the sports world, led by Milwaukee Bucks, NBA and WNBA players opting not to play games for a night at their respective Florida bubble sites. Following the Bucks' lead, the Milwaukee Brewers led a walkout. Other sports followed. 

Athletes around the nation reacted to the verdict on social media, with many noting they weren't surprised and questioning if it would have been the same had Rittenhouse been Black. 

The Bucks (7-8) are scheduled to host the Oklahoma City Thunder at 8 p.m. ET on Friday night. Their arena is about 40 miles from Kenosha. 

Athletes react to Rittenhouse verdict

Los Angeles Sparks forward and ESPN analyst Chiney Ogwumike referenced the verdict coming the day after Oklahoma inmate Julius Jones had his death sentence commuted. Baker Mayfield and other prominent athletes advocated for Jones in the lead-up.

𝘿𝙞𝙛𝙛𝙚𝙧𝙚𝙣𝙩 outcomes from our justice system this week, but one thing remains the 𝙨𝙖𝙢𝙚: we still have a lot of work to do.

Yet again, a necessary reminder that social justice is not a 𝙢𝙤𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩, it is a 𝙢𝙤𝙫𝙚𝙢𝙚𝙣𝙩.

— Chiney Ogwumike (@chiney) November 19, 2021

not surprised at all , smh …

— Ja Morant (@JaMorant) November 19, 2021

Ha, let the boy be black and it would’ve been life…hell he would’ve had his life taken before the bullshit trial.. sad

— Bubba Wallace (@BubbaWallace) November 19, 2021

Kyle Rittennhouse can kill without a sliver of doubt & walk free but Julius Jones is in jail for life without the chance for parole after being on death row for 20 years with all types of doubt in his case. What is Justice? God help us.

— Robert Griffin III (@RGIII) November 19, 2021

Guess the forced tears worked..

— 🏁 Jamal Crawford (@JCrossover) November 19, 2021

Not like that but like that you can be white and get away with anything!!! I’m scared for my life and my kids life.. But African Americans is locked up for life for shit they didn’t do!!! Damnit man!!!!What about those peoples families?? No justice for anything? Fuck that judge

— Isaiah Thomas (@isaiahthomas) November 19, 2021

Can't say I'm surprised…

— Elizabeth Williams (@E_Williams_1) November 19, 2021

The History major in me is not surprised and if you are mad please stay calm and if you are happy remember this situation for the future! I guess I can say case closed! https://t.co/jn8UUqLCP4

— Eddie A Johnson (@Jumpshot8) November 19, 2021

I bet the judge will be the first to take Kyle Rittenhouse for dinner to celebrate all that he’s accomplished this past year 😐 insane how much our judicial system varies based on physical traits of the defendant. Disappointed but not surprised.

— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) November 19, 2021

Also confused why so many of the All Lives Matter crowd were so vehemently defending Rittenhouse, when he literally went out of his way to kill two people when he should of been at home minding his business. It’s almost like the all lives matter statement is conditional 🤔🤯

— Brianna Turner (@_Breezy_Briii) November 19, 2021

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