Las Vegas Aces Will Forfeit Canceled Game, W.N.B.A. Says

For the first time in W.N.B.A. history, a team has forfeited a game.

The league ruled Tuesday that the Las Vegas Aces would get a loss for their game against the Washington Mystics that was canceled when the Aces players decided not to play because of concerns about their health and safety after more than 25 hours of travel.

The Aces needed more than a day to get to Washington from Las Vegas because of flight delays and cancellations. By the time the team reached its hotel it was 3:45 p.m. Friday — about four hours before the scheduled tip-off. The Aces players talked things over and spoke by phone with the union Friday. They called the league to say they did not want to play.

The league said it “worked extensively” with both teams to find a “workable solution.” The W.N.B.A. added it delayed the start of the game until 8 p.m. to give the Aces as much time as possible after their arrival.

“While not ideal, it was the best available solution to accommodate both our fans and the scheduling challenges,” W.N.B.A. President Lisa Borders said in a statement. “Since the Aces chose not to play, the result is a forfeit.”

The Aces put out a statement right before the start of their game Tuesday night in Atlanta.

“Our entire organization has the utmost respect for the very difficult decision our players made, and we stand with them,” said Bill Laimbeer, the Aces’ president of basketball operations and coach.

“We are disappointed with the league’s decision, but our focus is now on winning as many games as we can in our drive for our first playoff appearance.”

Las Vegas went on to lose to the Dream, 109-100, giving them two losses on the day. The team (12-17), which fell two and a half games behind the Dallas Wings for the final playoff spot, didn’t really want to talk about the league’s decision after the game.

“That’s in the past,” guard Kayla McBride said. “We made that decision as a team the other day. We’re here now and we were focused on Atlanta. It is what it is. We stand by our decision.”

There was little precedent for the decision because the W.N.B.A. has never before canceled a game. There have been only a handful of instances over the past few decades in major sports in which teams have had to forfeit.

Most of those occurred because of fan involvement, notably the Chicago White Sox’s infamous Disco Demolition Night in 1979 when the field was so damaged the second game of a doubleheader could not be played.

“We anticipated that this was a possible outcome that the players on the Aces seriously considered,” Terri Jackson, director of operations for the players’ union, wrote in a text message.

The union added that it hoped the league would accept its proposal to form a group to develop scheduling and travel guidelines.

“As always,” Jackson said, “the health and safety of the players remains the highest priority.”

Making up the Aces-Mystics game would have been difficult because of the compact schedule. Both teams play virtually every other day over the next two weeks before the regular season ends Aug. 19.

The Mystics had to refund fans who had tickets for the game. As a good-will gesture they are also offering tickets to another game.

Washington, which played in Phoenix on Tuesday night, declined to immediately comment on the league’s decision.

A version of this article appears in print on , on Page B10 of the New York edition with the headline: League Says Aces Forfeit The Game They Sat Out. Order Reprints | Today’s Paper | Subscribe

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