On August 4, the Las Vegas Aces of the WNBA decided not to play a game that night against the Washington Mystics due to travel issues. Due to delays, the Aces spent 25+ hours in airports and airplanes, and did not arrive in Washington until 3 pm. The game was pushed back to 8 pm, but the Aces decided to sit the game out. The Aces cited health concerns as the reason for forgoing the game. Today, the WNBA announced that the Aces’ decision not to play the game would result in a forfeit, the first in WNBA history.
While the travel conditions obviously are not ideal, other teams throughout professional sports have had to play games after travel issues. The WNBA had no choice but to count the game as a forfeit for the Aces. Rescheduling the game would have been very difficult since the season ends on August 19, and the each team still has six games to play. That isn’t even factoring in other events that are taking place in the arena.
It is a difficult situation, but at the end of the day, the Aces are a professional basketball team. If the team wanted a chance to get a win, they should have played the game. They have a duty to the WNBA, the organization, and the fans to play the game. The travel issues are terrible, and the team was at a disadvantage. It sucks, there is no denying that, but since they sat out the game, they deserve the loss. The Mystics were forced to give their fans a refund (and they also gave fans tickets to another game as a gesture of goodwill). The playoff race in the WNBA is heating up, and this forfeiture could have big implications. The Mystics moved up to second place in the Eastern Conference after taking the free win. The Aces were likely to miss the playoffs anyway, but this forfeit certainly hurt their chances.