The WNBA on Thursday said it would continue its season, but it was postponing three games scheduled for Thursday night in the league's bubble at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
WNBA games Wednesday and Thursday were postponed as part of the protests among professional sports teams in response to the police shooting of Jacob Blake, a Black man, in Kenosha, Wisconsin, on Sunday.
It wasn't made certain when the league would resume play, but WNBA executive committee president Nneka Ogwumike of the Los Angeles Sparks indicated it could be Friday. Ogwumike spoke with other members of the executive committee in a roundtable with ESPN's Holly Rowe.
"I feel as a group, we decided last night that we want to play," Ogwumike said Thursday. "There are games scheduled for [Friday] and that's what we're ready to do. But that doesn't come without demands of players to continue to amplify our voices in more ways than when we came here. We realize the work is not easy, but we also understand the work is never done."
Thursday's WNBA games that were postponed matched the Chicago Sky vs. the Indiana Fever, the Dallas Wings vs. the New York Liberty, and the Las Vegas Aces vs. the Seattle Storm.
Three games had been postponed Wednesday: the Atlanta Dream vs. the Washington Mystics, the Los Angeles Sparks vs. the Minnesota Lynx, and the Connecticut Sun vs. the Phoenix Mercury.
"It's important to note this is not a strike, this is not a boycott," Ogwumike said. "This is affirmatively a day of reflection, a day of informed action and mobilization. We recommitted to the justice movement, the platform for our advocacy, and the 'Say Her Name' campaign."
The WNBA has made social justice the primary platform for its 2020 season, with players wearing Breonna Taylor's name on the backs of their jerseys. Taylor, a Black woman killed by Louisville police after a no-knock raid on her home in March, and other women who have been killed or wounded in police shootings have been a focus of the WNBA and the "Say Her Name" campaign, which seeks to raise awareness of them.
The WNBA players' initial decision to not play Wednesday's games had followed the announcement that the NBA's three games that night were postponed after the Milwaukee Bucks did not take the floor against the Orlando Magic.
"We had the opportunity to be part of history," Ogwumike said of Wednesday's decision. "One thing we all agreed on is that what we do, we do it together. We've always had our own backs. In these moments, it looks different for everyone. For us, this is what it looks like.
"It's not new to us. We live this every day. Ever since I've been a WNBA player, we always worked in unison. Not just the players, but the staff. We want to serve as that example for our communities."
Blake was shot seven times by police Sunday as he attempted to enter the driver's side door of his vehicle with three of his children inside. Video of the shooting was distributed on social media, sparking more protests and causing more athletes to speak out or take action.
Ogwumike called for Wisconsin attorney general Josh Kaul to investigate the officers involved in the Blake shooting. She also called for Kentucky attorney general Daniel Cameron to arrest the police officers involved in Taylor's death.
"Let us not let up seeking justice for Sandra Bland, Michelle Cusseaux, Shelly Frey, Korryn Gaines, India Kager, Kayla Moore, Layleen Polanco, Michelle Shirley and other Black and brown women," Ogwumike said. "If you're watching or listening, and you understand the humanity in the movement for Black lives, and you recognize that your voice matters, do not remain idle. Demand that your leaders step up and take real action. Do something today."
Seattle's Sue Bird, also a member of the executive committee, urged people to vote.
"As important as it is to be in the streets protesting, keeping that energy up," Bird said, "we've got to take that energy to the polls."
The WNBA is a little over midway through a 22-game regular season, which is scheduled to end on Sept. 12. That's to be followed by conventional playoffs: single-elimination games for the first and second rounds, then best-of-five series for the semifinals and finals.
There have been three games per day most days since the WNBA began its season July 25.