WNBA Players Sit Out Games Wednesday Night As Part of Protest

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All three WNBA games initially scheduled to be played Wednesday night were postponed after players collectively decided to sit out.

The league said in a statement that information regarding the rescheduling of such games will be provided when available.

"After speaking with representatives of teams playing tonight as well as our WNBPA leadership, the consensus is to not play in tonight's slates of games and to kneel, lock arms and raise fists during the national anthem," Atlanta Dream center Elizabeth Williams said in a statement. "We stand in solidarity with our brothers in the NBA and we'll continue this conversation with our brothers and sisters across all leagues and look to take collective action."

The decision of the league's players come hours removed from the NBA's Milwaukee Bucks' deciding not to play in their Game 5 playoff game against the Orlando Magic, which was originally set to tip off at 4 p.m. ET. Following the Bucks' decision, Wednesday's Rockets-Thunder and Lakers-Blazers playoff games were also postponed. 

The Mystics and Dream were set to tip off at 7 p.m. ET. The Sparks and Lynx were set to play at 8 p.m. ET. The Sun and Mercury were initially scheduled to play at 10 p.m. ET.

Players on the Mystics appeared to take a leadership role in deciding not to play Wednesday night. Other teams set to play Wednesday supported the Mystics players and followed their lead. 

At around 7 p.m. ET, players from around the WNBA were shown in solidarity, kneeling with their respective arms locked. 

The 2019 WNBA champion Washington Mystics wore shirts to their initially scheduled game that spelled out the first and last name of Jacob Blake, a 29-year-old Black man who was shot multiple times in the back Sunday in Kenosha, Wis. The seven holes on the back of their shirts also represented the seven times Blake was shot. 

Players around the WNBA have a long history of social justice activism. Their latest demonstration comes days removed from the police shooting of Blake. The Wisconsin Department of Justice is investigating the shooting, which occurred Sunday evening. As of Wednesday afternoon, Blake was conscious but partially paralyzed from a bullet that severed his spinal cord.