By CARSON BLACKWELDER, ABC News
(PALMETTO, Fla.) — The sports world is reacting to the Sunday night shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, but perhaps none more powerfully than the WNBA.
The Washington Mystics wore white T-shirts to their scheduled game Wednesday night against the Atlanta Dream. On the front of each were individual letters spelling out the name of the 29-year-old Black man who, according to family, was left paralyzed from the waist down from the incident.
On the back were painted bullet holes.
All teams scheduled to play Wednesday night — including the Minnesota Lynx, the Connecticut Sun, the Phoenix Mercury and the Los Angeles Sparks — took a knee and linked arms during the national anthem before walking off the court.
“This isn’t just about basketball,” Mystics player Ariel Atkins said in a statement. “When most of us go home, we still are Black.”
“We’re not just basketball players and, if you think we are, then don’t watch us, you’re watching the wrong sport, because we’re so much more than that,” she continued.
Her statement stressed the importance of speaking out “unified as a league” and pointed out the high percentage of Black women in the WNBA.
“We matter,” Atkins concluded. “I’m tired of telling people that.”
In a statement on behalf of all WNBA players, Dream player Elizabeth Williams said the night’s games would not be going ahead. This came soon after the Milwaukee Bucks staged a walkout for their game against the Orlando Magic, prompting the NBA’s postponement of all Wednesday games.
“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,” Williams said.
The WNBA issued a statement announcing that Wednesday night’s games would be postponed and information regarding rescheduling would be provided “when available.”
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