WNBA: Aces Forfeit Mystics Matchup After Refusal to Play Amid Safety ConcernsAugust 7, 2018
The Las Vegas Aces officially lost a game even though they never stepped on the court to play.
According to Doug Feinberg of the Associated Press, the WNBA announced Tuesday that Las Vegas was forced to forfeit its Aug. 3 contest against the Washington Mystics. The AP noted flight delays made the Aces' trip from Las Vegas to the nation's capital take almost 26 hours, which left them at the team hotel only four hours before the start of the game.
Las Vegas decided as a team not to play out of concern for the players' health after discussing the situation with the union, but it was still hit with an official loss due to this ruling.
The Aces released a statement when they chose not to play the game, apologizing and explaining "this decision was not made lightly" while pointing to the "paramount concern" of player safety.
All-Star A'ja Wilson provided updates on Twitter during the travel ordeal that provided a glimpse into the players' mindset at the time. She said, among other tweets, "Then you want us to land at 1pm and play at 7pm ....uhhhh that’s not healthy" and "Like we have really been here at the airport since 11am and it is now almost 6 pm.....and we are expected to play at a high level tomorrow ..."
"While not ideal, it was the best available solution to accommodate both our fans and the scheduling challenges," WNBA President Lisa Borders said in a statement, per Feinberg. "Since the Aces chose not to play, the result is a forfeit."
This is the first WNBA game that was canceled, and the AP explained making it up would have been taxing seeing how both teams are scheduled to play every other day for almost the rest of the season, which ends Aug. 19.
"I'm really disappointed that the Las Vegas players and organization didn't come to compete," Washington coach and general manager Mike Thibault said of the situation, per Gene Wang of the Washington Post. "Every team I've been around in the WNBA or the NBA or the old CBA goes through this. College teams go through it, and you have an obligation to the fans who paid money to come watch you play. If you're there and in the city and can play, you should show up and play."
While Thibault was the one who publicly expressed disappointment, the forfeit was a blow for the Aces considering it dropped them two games behind the Dallas Wings for the final playoff spot at 12-16.