For the second consecutive day, the WNBA postponed three games following the weekend shooting of Jacob Blake.
In Bradenton, Florida, in the WNBA bubble, Chicago was to face Indiana, New York was to meet Dallas and Las Vegas was set to play Seattle on Thursday night.
“This is not a strike. This is not a boycott. This is affirmatively a day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization,” said WNBA players’ union president Nneka Ogwumike on ESPN.
So far six games have been postponed over the past two nights. The league had just passed its halfway mark of the 22-game season. With teams playing pretty much every other day in the bubble, the postponed games will most likely have to be made up after the regular season ends Sept. 12.
Unlike Wednesday night when four teams were at the arena discussing whether to play nearly up until the 7 p.m. EDT tip, the decision to postpone the games Thursday was made hours before the scheduled starts.
Ogwumike said that the players planned to resume play Friday.
“I feel like as a group we decided last night we want to play,” the Los Angeles Sparks star said. “There are games scheduled tomorrow that’s what we are ready to do.”
WNBA teams held a roughly 30-minute vigil back at the IMG Academy hotel Wednesday night for Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot seven times by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.
The vigil was led by Ogwumike and Layshia Clarendon, who are the president and vice president of the players’ union. The vigil was attended by every team, players, coaches, staff and officials.
On Thursday, all the players and teams in the bubble got together on the practice courts at IMG Academy locking arms showing their unity.
The WNBA and its players have dedicated this season to social justice. Players have been wearing the name of Breonna Taylor on the back of the uniforms all season long.
Ogwumike said in a statement that the players called on the Kentucky attorney general to arrest the killers of Taylor and the Wisconsin attorney general to investigate the shooting of Blake.
Taylor, a 26-year-old Black emergency medical technician, was shot eight times by plainclothes Louisville police officers serving a narcotics search warrant at her apartment on March 13. No drugs were found. Her family and protesters around the country have called for swift action against the officers who shot Taylor.
Over the course of the season players have worn warmup shirts that read “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. The phrase “Black Lives Matter” is featured prominently on the courts where the teams play.
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