Statement on the 8/26 WNBA Strike

Tonight, players of the WNBA joined their NBA counterparts in choosing not to play in their scheduled matches. This collective action comes as a powerful protest to the unchecked police brutality towards Black people in the United States. On Sunday, August 23, Jacob Blake was shot seven times in the back by police, and protesters of this horrific act have been met only with more police violence in the following days. The players of the WNBA reiterated tonight that this brutality cannot go unchallenged, even in sports.

The 2020 WNBA season has been centered around social justice and awareness of police brutality towards Black women, and the players soundly defended that focus by refusing to play tonight. Though the NBA strike may see more media attention, the Black women of the WNBA have been leading the way in athlete activism for years. Their work has made an unprecedented move like this possible, and the power of this collective statement across sports tonight speaks to the change athletes can make in their communities. She Plays stands behind these players tonight and always. Black lives matter.

Below is the statement from the WNBA players as read on ESPN tonight by Elizabeth Williams.

“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.

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.

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 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, and engage, and make that difference.

Find a list of social justice resources and ways to get involved here.

Share this story:

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.