(CBSDFW.com)- After two days of postponed games, while players and the league discussed the best ways to push the call for social justice forward in the wake of the shooting of Jacob Blake in Kenosha, Wisconsin, the WNBA resumes play Friday night. The Dallas Wings, who had Thursday night’s game against the New York Liberty postponed, will be back in action on Saturday in the national spotlight on CBS.
Though the games are returning and players will be taking the court, the trauma of another Black person suffering at the hands of police weighs heavily on the athletes.
“It’s a lot definitely. And I’ve had a heavy heart these past few days, and not just because of what has happened with Jacob, but the Say Her Name campaign and sitting on calls and listening to them and just feeling their pain and what they’re going through,” said forward Kayla Thornton in a media call Friday.
“There is a lot of confusion and frustration, we were just talking about it. How can this continue to happen? How is it even possible that in the same city someone is free while shooting other people and someone else is being shot just for being black,” said rookie forward Satou Sabally. “Sadness. We had that night in the hotel when everybody came together, and there was just a lot of sadness. Everyone was really just drained of all this energy. We’re tired of having to constantly say the same things.”
Though the emotions of the last few days have been draining, both Thornton and Sabally say that there have been many productive conversations about how to move forward and the importance of the steps the league took in postponing the games on Wednesday and Thursday night to allow for reflection for the athletes and fans.
“Very bold, I would say. We’re on a strict schedule, and we have a lot of games going on, and there is so much happening that we really just had to make a stand and had to even take a mental break too,” said Sabally. “Because, at the end of the day, we’re all human beings, and we worry, and we care about our brothers and sisters and everyone being out there in the real world. I feel like we’re really isolated here. So, with the WNBA taking that stand, it just shows again that we’re at the forefront of the social justice movement, that we’re activists as a whole league, and our league supports us in whatever we do.”
“We had conversations with our coaches, we had conversations with the whole league, and we had conversations with just the players,” continued Sabally. “It was really good to see. I feel like those conversations and that break was very much needed for everybody to mobilize their thoughts, take a little breather and, in the end, show the world that sports is not everything. People need to protect other people first before being able to enjoy and watch and proceed to other things.”
Among the conversations had among players, one particular topic of importance was voting. Thornton said Friday that organizing campaigns for people to go out and vote is one of the biggest concerns for the players of the league right now.
“The main conversations that we had as a group was to be able to go out and just vote. Voting is our biggest concern right now. To have people go out and be able to vote and have a say in this, so things can get changed,” said Thornton.
Thornton also noted that while emotions have been heavy over the last few days, because of who she is as a person, she has faith that justice will prevail.
“I just believe God is going to make the injustice justice. It may not be when we want Him, but as they say in church, He’s always on time,” said Thornton. “I just believe that, in due time, this shall come to pass, as far as bringing these people to justice.”
Saturday’s game for the Wings is a first for CBS, as the network will air coverage of its first WNBA game on its CBS Television Network. But one thing remains clear. The players won’t allow the return of games to distract from their message.
The Dallas Wings and Indiana Fever are set for a 3 p.m. CT tip-off Saturday on CBS Sports Network.