WNBA Players Walk Off Court During National Anthem at Season Opener

The WNBA shows their unwavering support for the Black Lives Matter movement.

On Saturday, at the season opener between the Seattle Storm and the New York Liberty held at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, all players from both teams walked off the court during the national anthem in what appears to be a protest against systemic racism and injustice.

Additionally, the game featured a 26-second moment of silence for Breonna Taylor, a Black woman who was fatally shot by Louisville Metro Police Department officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove on March 13, 2020.

“We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home,” Liberty point guard Layshia Clarendon said in a speech midcourt. “Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around here.”

“We are also dedicating this season to ‘Say Her Name’ campaign, a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice of Black women — Black women are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, who don’t have people marching in the streets for them,” Clarendon continued. “We will be a voice for the voiceless.”

Taylor’s name was also featured on the back of both teams’ jerseys.

As announced earlier this month, WNBA players will wear jerseys honoring women of color, such as Sandra Bland and Vanessa Guillen, who “have been the forgotten victims of police brutality and racial violence.”

The professional basketball league also said that “Black Lives Matter” will be a prominent theme throughout the 2020 season.

“Systemic change can’t happen overnight, but it is our shared responsibility to do everything we can to raise awareness and promote the justice we hope to see in society,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.

Last month, Hankison was fired from the LMPD for shooting 10 rounds into Taylor’s Kentucky apartment. However, neither he nor the other two cops have been arrested and/or charged in Taylor’s killing.


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