Players from two WNBA teams protested the National Anthem ahead of their game on Saturday by walking off the court and out of the room.
As the Washington Examiner reports, every player from the New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm walk off the hardwood just as the Spar Spangled Banner begins to play on the stadium speakers.
“As the national anthem was played, the @nyliberty and @seattlestorm walked off the floor as part of the social justice initiative,” ESPN said, sharing a video of the incident.
— ESPN (@espn) July 25, 2020
According to the Washington Examiner, the players eventually returned to the court where they paused and observed a 26-second moment of silence to honor Breonna Taylor.
Liberty player Layshia Clarendon said that her team was dedicating their season to Taylor, who was fatally shot by Louisville police officers Jonathan Mattingly, Brett Hankison, and Myles Cosgrove back in March of this year.
“Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around her,” she said. “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 who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, who don’t have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name. Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Dominique Remy Fells, and Breonna Taylor. We will be a voice for the voiceless.”
— WNBA (@WNBA) July 25, 2020
The Washington Examiner adds:
Taylor, a 26-year-old black emergency medical technician, was asleep in her Louisville apartment when officers used a no-knock warrant to enter her home after midnight in March. The officers opened fire and killed Taylor after her boyfriend fired a warning shot to the apparent intruders. One of the three officers involved in Taylor’s death has been fired by the police department, but none have been charged.
As the Daily Wire reports, the staged walk-out comes just days after MLB players spent Opening Day nearly unanimously kneeling in protest during the playing of the National Anthem.
Major League Baseball posted to Twitter that the protest was carried out to show unity and equality.
“Today, and every day, we come together as brothers. As equals, all with the same goal – to level the playing field. To change the injustices. Equality is not just a word. It’s our right! Today we stand as men from 25 nations on 6 continents. Today, we are one,” the tweet said.