After refusing to play the last two days in solidarity with NBA players, the WNBA announced that games will resume Friday night. Games will resume with the Minnesota Lynx taking on the Atlanta Dream at 7 p.m. ET, followed by the L.A. Sparks vs. the Connecticut Sun at 8 p.m. ET on CBS Sports Network and the night will end with the Washington Mystics against the Phoenix Mercury at 10 p.m. ET, also on CBS Sports Network.
The league resuming its schedule comes two days after players across the league decided not to play as a show of support of NBA players sitting out in response to the shooting of a Black man named Jacob Blake, who was shot seven times in the back by police in Kenosha, Wisconsin. The Milwaukee Bucks were the initial team to sit out Game 5 of their first-round playoff matchup against the Orlando Magic. Shortly after, the remaining two games for the NBA were postponed. Other sports leagues like the MLB and MLS postponed a few games, and then the WNBA followed suit and postponed its full slate of games on Wednesday as well as Thursday.
The WNBA originally planned to play Wednesday night with a planned protest to stop play at the seven-minute mark of each quarter, signifying the seven times Blake was shot by police officers. However, the Washington Mystics decided they couldn't play the game at all and shortly thereafter other teams across the league stood in solidarity with the Mystics choice.
Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams read a statement on behalf of the WNBA players which said, in part:
"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. 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."
"Through ongoing conversations last night in person, and discussions into the morning via extensive text messages, we recommitted to the justice movement. The platform for our advocacy, and recommitted to the Say Her Name campaign. We are doubling down on our previous calls of action to contact your local officials and demand reform. Register to vote and show up on election day. Complete the 2020 census, and be counted. Today we call upon Kentucky attorney general, Daniel Cameron, to arrest the officers that killed Breonna Taylor. Today we call upon the Wisconsin attorney general, Josh Kaul, to investigate the officers who were involved in the shooting of Jacob Blake."
WNBA players dedicated the 2020 season to social justice, and have worn Breonna Taylor's names on their jerseys. The league has painted Black Lives Matter on the court and players have worn shirts with the same phrase during warmups. Now, though, as the season resumes, the women in the W are re-committing themselves to seeking more tangible action in the fight for social justice.