WNBA Postpones All Wednesday Night Games to Protest Jacob Blake Shooting

Paul KasabianSenior Contributor

Members of the Las Vegas Aces honor Michelle Cusseaux with a moment of silence before a WNBA basketball game against the Washington Mystics, Saturday, Aug. 15, 2020, in Bradenton, Fla. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack)
Phelan M. Ebenhack/Associated Press

The WNBA's three scheduled Wednesday games have been postponed in protest of the police shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin.

Atlanta Dream forward Elizabeth Williams made the announcement on ESPN:  

Atlanta Dream @AtlantaDream

Center @E_Williams_1 reads statement on @espn as the representative for all @WNBA players. Tonight's games have been cancelled. https://t.co/xDz4uCQSiD

"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," Williams said in part. 

The postponement follows the Milwaukee Bucks' refusal to play Game 5 of their first-round playoff series against the Orlando Magic. NBA postseason matchups between the Los Angeles Lakers and Portland Trail Blazers, as well as the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets, were called off as well.

The Dream were scheduled to play the Washington Mystics, who showed up to their previously scheduled game in white T-shirts that each featured a letter from Jacob Blake's name on the front and seven holes on the back, representing the number of times the 29-year-old was shot by police.

Washington Mystics @WashMystics


The Mystics later took the court, spelled out Blake's name and then turned to show their T-shirts' red-tinged holes.

Washington Mystics @WashMystics

"We're not just basketball players. We're so much more than that." Ariel Atkins with a powerful statement on the unified decision to not play tonight. #BlackLivesMatter https://t.co/Eg96KMqsFh

Other WNBA teams joined them on the court and knelt in solidarity and protest:

Kelyn Soong @KelynSoong

The scene from the WNBA bubble, where no games will be held tonight https://t.co/PvM4OFJSXT

Holly Rowe of ESPN later shared video of a candlelight vigil held in the WNBA bubble:

Holly Rowe @sportsiren

After games were boycotted Wednesday night, the entire @wnba bubble organized and participated in a candlelight vigil. People were encouraged to speak their heart. They are in this together. https://t.co/4MZj64dBlf

A shortened WNBA season is taking place at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, because of the COVID-19 pandemic. All 12 teams have played at least 13 games of their 22-contest schedule.

The WNBA has been at the forefront of social justice protests for years.

Of note, Indiana Fever and Phoenix Mercury players knelt during the national anthem in protest of systemic racism prior to a 2016 game.

Minnesota Lynx players wore shirts and held a pre-game press conference in protest of police brutality and systemic racism following the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling in 2016.

Four-time WNBA champion and Lynx forward Maya Moore notably halted her career to aid in criminal justice reform and assist in freeing Jonathan Irons, a Black man wrongfully convicted for burglary and assault.

In 2020, numerous players have opted against playing this season to aid in fighting social injustice, such as the Mystics' Natasha Cloud and the Dream's Renee Montgomery.

Protests following the shooting of Jacob Blake have extended beyond basketball, as a trio of Major League Baseball games have also been postponed. Wednesday's Cincinnati Reds vs. Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners vs. San Diego Padres and San Francisco Giants vs. Los Angeles Dodgers matchups will not be played as scheduled.