WNBA players have forced the league to postpone Wednesday night's games: 'We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA' against police brutality

The WNBA players' move to boycott Wednesday's slate comes after protests erupted around the country in light of the police shooting of Jacob Blake.ESPN 2
  • WNBA games scheduled for Wednesday night have been postponed.
  • Players on the Washington Mystics could not bring themselves to play, and the other five teams scheduled to compete on Wednesday followed suit.
  • "We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA," WNBPA Secretary and Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams said in a statement announcing the players' decision.
  • The league's athletes chose not to play to protest the shooting of Jacob Blake, an unarmed Black man whom Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shot in the back seven times in front of his children on Sunday.

WNBA players have followed the NBA's lead and chosen not to play games scheduled for Wednesday night.

After the Milwaukee Bucks spurred NBA players' collective decision to put their season on hold in pursuit of justice and in light of ongoing protests against police brutality across the nation, players on the Washington Mystics felt that they, too, could not bring themselves to play Wednesday evening.

The WNBA previously devoted the 2020 season to pursuing justice for Breonna Taylor.AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack
After the Mystics disclosed their decision, players on the league's other five teams scheduled to compete on Wednesday chose to follow suit. The Atlanta Dream, Connecticut Sun, Phoenix Mercury, Los Angeles Sparks, and Minnesota Lynx players all joined Washington in boycotting their upcoming matchups in response to the latest highly-publicized police shooting of an unarmed Black man.Advertisement

"We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA," WNBPA Secretary and Atlanta Dream player Elizabeth Williams said in a statement announcing the players' decision. "We will continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action."

The WNBA players' move to boycott Wednesday's slate of games comes after protests erupted around the country in light of the police shooting of Jacob Blake, whom Kenosha, Wisconsin, officers shot in front of his three children on Sunday. Blake survived and is in stable condition despite taking seven bullets to the back, but the 29-year-old is now paralyzed from the waist down.

Washington Mystics players drew seven black dots on their backs to represent the seven times police pulled the trigger against Jacob Blake.ESPN 2
"What we have seen over the last few months — and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake — is overwhelming," Williams. "And while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep the focus on the issues and demand change."
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Before choosing to step off the hardwood for the night, the Mystics made a strong statement by spelling out Jacob Blake's name on their shirts and drawing seven black dots on their backs to represent the seven times police pulled the trigger against him.

Later, Washington guard Ariel Atkins spoke on behalf of the Mystics about their decision to abstain from play."This isn't just about basketball," Atkins told ESPN's Holly Rowe. "We aren't just basketball players. Just because we are basketball players doesn't mean that's our only platform. We need to understand that when most of us go home, we still are Black."Advertisement

"We're not just basketball players," she added. "And if you think we are, then don't watch us. You're watching the wrong sport because we're so much more than that. We're going to say what we need to say, and people need to hear that. And if they don't support that, I'm fine with that."

The league itself confirmed in a statement that Wednesday night's games had been postponed, not canceled. But like in the NBA, the future of the 2020 WNBA season appears to rest in the hands of the players. Whether or not Thursday's slate or any subsequent games will continue as scheduled still remains to be seen.

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