WNBA Suspends Games To Protest Jacob Blake Shooting
The WNBA announced that the league will be postponing three playoff games scheduled for Thursday night in response to the shooting of unarmed Black man Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin. This would make the second night in a row that players opted not to play.
According to ESPN, it seems the league will continue the season eventually, after speculation that both the WNBA and the NBA were in talks to suspend the season altogether. Both leagues have since decided to return to the court, though it’s not confirmed when.
WNBA executive committee president Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks indicated it could be Friday. “I feel as a group, we decided last night that we want to play,” Ogwumike said Thursday.
“There are games scheduled for [Friday] and that’s what we’re ready to do. But that doesn’t come without demands of players to continue to amplify our voices in more ways than when we came here. We realize the work is not easy, but we also understand the work is never done.”
“It’s important to note this is not a strike, this is not a boycott,” she continued. “This is affirmatively a day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization. We recommitted to the justice movement, the platform for our advocacy, and the ‘Say Her Name’ campaign.”
Disrupting norms in the name of social justice is nothing new to the WNBA. This season, players have been wearing jersey’s bearing the name of Breonna Taylor, the 25-year-old EMT who was killed by police as she slept in her own bed. Some star players, like Maya Moore, even opted out of the season altogether to focus on justice work.
On Wednesday afternoon, the Milwaukee Bucks announced that they would not take the floor against the Orlando Magic, and the two other teams who were meant to play that night quickly followed suit. The WNBA players announced their own strike shortly thereafter.
“We had the opportunity to be part of history,” Ogwumike said of Wednesday’s decision. “One thing we all agreed on is that what we do, we do it together. We’ve always had our own backs. In these moments, it looks different for everyone. For us, this is what it looks like.
She continued, “It’s not new to us. We live this every day. Ever since I’ve been a WNBA player, we always worked in unison. Not just the players, but the staff. We want to serve as that example for our communities.”
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