WNBA players joined NBA players in sitting out of their games to bring attention to social justice issues.
In what has been a historic day in the sports world, WNBA players have decided to sit out of their scheduled games on Wednesday night. The Atlanta Dream, Washington Mystics, Los Angeles Sparks, Minnesota Lynx, Connecticut Sun and Phoenix Mercury were scheduled to play Wednesday.
This is a move in solidarity with the NBA players who decided to boycott their games on Wednesday as well.
The Mystics were the team that initially expressed their desire to boycott Wednesday’s game. Members of their team wore shirts that spelled out Jacob Blake’s name. Blake was the most recent African American who was shot by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He was shot seven times in the back after he was attempting to break up an altercation. The Mystics had seven gunshots place on the back of their custom-made shirts.
The WNBA players release statement on boycotting Wednesday’s games
All teams that were scheduled to play met on the court, deciding on whether they should take part in Wednesday’s games. Once the Mystics made the decision to not play, all teams decided not to take the floor. Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams made a statement on behalf of all players and representatives in the WNBA on ESPN2.
Instead of playing in the games, Williams said that the teams would kneel at center court while the national anthem was played.
“We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA and will continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action,” she said. “What we have seen over the last few months and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake is overwhelming. And while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep the focus on the issue and demand change.”
WNBA players have consistently been at the forefront of bringing light to social justice issues. The players and the league dedicated their season to Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who died at the hands of police in Kentucky, by having her name on their jerseys during the season. The players opposed Kelly Loeffler, who is a co-owner of the Atlanta Dream franchise, when she wrote a letter to WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert, opposing the league’s plan to promote the Black Lives Matter movement this year.
As mentioned before, the players of WNBA followed the NBA players’ decision for a solidarity strike in the games scheduled on Wednesday night. The Milwaukee Bucks did not come out on the floor for their Game 5 matchup against the Orlando Magic Wednesday afternoon. The WNBA has three games scheduled for Thursday, but it is unclear if those games will be boycotted as well. Both leagues said that the games are “postponed.”