Las Vegas Aces at Washington Mystics game canceled due to travel delays, Aces issue statement

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Washington Mystics players sign towels and t-shirts in exchange for an Aces-Mystics matchup that was canceled. Photo: Amber Dodd.

WASHINGTON – The WNBA regular season is in its final stretch. Teams are playing back-to-back matchups and external factors like time for travel and means of transportation put game times on thin ice.

The most recent chaotic setback in the WNBA came for the Las Vegas Aces who planned to visit Washington, D.C. for a matchup against the Washington Mystics. After a 104-93 loss against the Phoenix Mercury at home on Wednesday, it was time for the Aces to travel from Las Vegas to Washington. They were scheduled for a one-stop commercial air trip from Las Vegas to Dallas to Washington. Unfortunately, they were delayed a full day while in Dallas. They arrived in Washington approximately at 2:55 p.m ET today. They did not go to Capital One Arena after arriving in D.C.

Numerous Aces vented on social media to express their concerns with commercial flying and the circumstances surrounding the matchup that was still scheduled later that night.

Earlier in the day, the league tried to accommodate the Aces by pushing the game’s start to 8 p.m. ET instead of 7 p.m. A little after 4 p.m ET, the league announced that Friday night’s game between the Mystics and the Aces was canceled. This came after 24 hours of travel delays for the Aces trying to get to D.C. in time for rest, shoot around and a game.

According to the terms of the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) signed in 2014 between the league and its players, teams must fly coach. Washington head coach Mike Thibault expressed his opinion on the matter.

“They’ve had two days to get here,” Thibault said, reminiscing on his travel plans that have fallen through but still making games. He cited his emergency travels from Ohio to Connecticut, arriving 52 minutes before the game and still suiting up to play. He also cited more recent times like the back-to-back games for Washington this year in Seattle and Los Angeles.  “Everybody goes through that. There’s no excuse for it.”

Per the Mystics, all tickets from the game will be automatically refunded and fans will receive complimentary tickets to a future Mystics game. The Mystics made the most of their delay, holding a signing day for fans in the arena instead of letting ticket holders walk away empty handed.

“It was important that [player’s] one through twelve come out and show we love them,” Washington’s starting guard Natasha Cloud said. “As much as they support us, we support them. It was good for them to see that we’re more than just basketball players and that we care.”

The Aces released a statement on their decision to not show up at the Capital One Arena.

The Players of the Las Vegas Aces Have Issued the Following Statement: 

To all of our WNBA fans around the world:

We are so sorry that the Aces were not able to take the court tonight against the Washington Mystics.

We trust that you know this decision was not made lightly. There is nothing we enjoy more than playing in front of the most rabid fans in professional sports night in and night out, and we sincerely apologize for any inconvenience and disappointment we created for the fans, workers and anyone else who may have been affected by tonight’s cancellation.

Given the travel issues we faced over the past two days—25+ hours spent in airports and airplanes, in cramped quarters and having not slept in a bed since Wednesday night—and after consulting with Players Association leadership and medical professionals, we concluded that playing tonight’s game would put us at too great a risk for injury.

Naturally, the issue of player safety is of paramount concern for all involved in the WNBA. This issue is bigger than our team and this one unfortunate set of circumstances, and we look forward to being a part of future discourse in the hope of preventing such incidents in the future.

We thank all of you for your continued support of the league, and we will see you back out on the court this Sunday at Connecticut.

~ The Las Vegas Aces

The game is now being reviewed for how it will affect the Aces and Mystics’ record and the overall league standings. With many factors affecting the game’s outcome, the league will decide if it counts as a forfeit or postponed game. Washington moves on to face the Dallas Wings on the road Sunday, Aug. 5. Las Vegas will continue their road game at the Connecticut Sun on the same day.


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