“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 raise fists during the National Anthem,” Atlanta Dream’s Elizabeth Williams said, adding that they stand in solidarity with the NBA and will further the conversation across leagues “to take collective action.”
The WNBA, whose members have historically advocated for a number of socially progressive causes, dedicated its 2020 season to social justice to address inequality and systemic racism, among other societal issues. The organization formed a new platform, The Justice Movement, and created the WNBA/WNBPA Social Justice Council.
This year, the WNBA partnered with the #SayHerName campaign and players have worn uniforms displaying Breonna Taylor’s name and the names of other Black women who have been victims of police violence. The league has also supported the Black Lives Matter movement with the words emblazoned on the court and on uniforms.
“What we have seen over the last few months, and most recently with the brutal police shooting of Jacob Blake, is overwhelming. And while we hurt for Jacob and his community, we also have an opportunity to keep the focus on the issues and demand change. These moments are why it’s important for our fans to stay focused, hear our voices, know our hearts and connect the dots from what we say to what we do,” Williams continued. “We encourage everyone to go and register to vote. Now. Today. If you truly believe that Black Lives Matter, then vote. Go and complete the 2020 Census now. Don’t wait. If we wait, we don’t make change. It matters. Your voice matters. Your vote matters. Do all you can to demand that your leaders stop with the empty words and do something.
“This is the reason for the 2020 season. It is in our DNA. We have been saying her name. We are lifting the names of black and brown women whose murders have been forgotten. We will continue to use our platform to speak of these injustices that are still happening and demand action for change. Black Lives Matter. Say her name, say his name. Tonight, we stand and while we have heavy hearts, we stand with strong and determined voices and ask all our fans to vote, to engage and to make that difference.”
In addition to the WNBA and NBA canceling Wednesday’s games, several Major League Baseball games were also postponed in solidarity, including the Milwaukee Brewers-Cincinnati Reds, Seattle Mariners-San Diego Padres, and Los Angeles Dodgers-San Francisco Giants games.