The WNBA called off its three scheduled games Wednesday, after the NBA and some MLB teams chose not to play as a protest of racial injustice.
On Sunday, Kenosha, Wisconsin, police shot Jacob Blake seven times in the back, sparking a new wave of protests and outrage nationwide.
"After speaking with representatives from teams playing tonight, as well as our WNBPA leadership, the consensus is to not play in tonight's slate of games and to kneel, lock arms and to raise fists during the national anthem," said Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams, who read a statement on ESPN announcing the decision.
"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. What we have seen over the last few months and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake is overwhelming," Williams continued. "And while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep a focus on the issues and demand change."
Center @E_Williams_1 reads statement on @espn as the representative for all @WNBA players. Tonight’s games have been cancelled. pic.twitter.com/xDz4uCQSiD
The Milwaukee Bucks' decision to not play Game 5 of their playoff series against the Orlando Magic influenced the NBA to postpone all three scheduled games. In Major League Baseball, the Milwaukee Brewers announced they would not play Wednesday against the St. Louis Cardinals; other MLB games were also not being played.
The WNBA has dedicated its 22-game regular season, conducted in a "bubble" format in Bradenton, Florida, to Breonna Taylor — a Louisville, Kentucky, woman shot and killed by police using a no-knock warrant — and is participating in the "Say Her Name" campaign. Several players, such as the Dream's Renee Montgomery and Natasha Cloud of the Washington Mystics, opted out of the season to focus their efforts on creating change. Star player Maya Moore has not played since 2018 while fighting for social justice.
Prior to the first game of the season, members of the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm exited the floor prior to the national anthem and did not return while it played.
On Wednesday, the Mystics arrived for the game wearing T-shirts that featured one letter of Jacob Blake's name on the front. Seven holes, representing the shots fired at Blake, were cut into the back of the shirts.
Follow Chris Bumbaca on Twitter @BOOMbaca.
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