On a night when Satou Sabally recorded the third triple-double of her rookie WNBA season, a career-high 28-point outburst in the Dallas Wings' 96-92 loss to the Las Vegas Aces, she didn’t feel like celebrating.
That’s because her mind was on someone else. It was Jacob Blake.
In Sabally’s press conference following the game, the No. 2 overall pick used her platform to call attention to Blake’s recent shooting in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and the continued fight against racial injustice and police brutality.
“I just want to say I won’t be answering any questions because we need justice for Jacob Blake, who has been shot seven times in the back,” Sabally said. “And at this moment, we can enjoy any wins, we can’t enjoy any losses, there’s a lot of things happening in this country and we need to put the focus on that.”
Blake, a 29-year-old black man, was shot seven times in the back while his three children watched from inside the car. His attorney, Ben Crump, said his client is paralyzed and it would "take a miracle" for him to walk again.
Sabally isn’t the only pro player who wants there to be more conversation around the unjustified killings of black men and women at the hands of law enforcement.
Teams around the NBA boycotted games on Wednesday in protest of Blake’s shooting. They also demanded accountability and change.
Sabally hopes to create meaningful and measurable change by fighting systemic racism and violence. The former Oregon women's basketball star is the WNBA’s youngest member on the new social justice council, which looks to address this country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted black and brown communities.
She recently was a part of a group that helped organized a call with the mother of Breonna Taylor.
“You see Breonna Taylor’s face everywhere, but you forget she had a mother, a sister, she had this whole family that is hurting still, because there’s still no justice,” Sabally told the Undefeated. “The cops are still outside, free, living their normal lives, and they kill someone. They’re responsible for a murder. Just being able to see that she’s a human and the realness of it really just made me even more emotional, and more eager to do more.”
Three WNBA games were expected to be played on Wednesday night: Mystics-Dream, Sparks-Lynx, and Sun-Mercury. Per Bleacher Report's Ari Chambers, the WNBA planned to play every seven minutes to draw attention to the seven times Blake was shot by Kenosha police.
The league has since decided to postpone all games and join the NBA in solidarity.