The entire Indiana Fever, a team in the Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA), knelt before a home playoff game Wednesday night in solidarity with ongoing protests against police shootings of black men in Tulsa and Charlotte.
The Charlotte protests had turned violent Tuesday night, and again on Wednesday, even as the WNBA team was kneeling for the anthem in Indianapolis. One protester was shot and severely wounded in Charlotte, evidently by another civilian. Fever coach Stephanie White reportedly supported her players’ decision to protest, according to ESPN.
Fever star Tamika Catchings, for whom Wednesday night’s game was the last of her career, helped organize the protest.
The visiting WNBA team, the Phoenix Mercury, did not kneel as a whole, though two of its members did. The Mercury went on to win the game, 89-78.
WNBA president Lisa Borders supported the protest as well, according to ESPN, describing the practice of standing for the national anthem as a kind of cultural preference, rather than required protocol:
“I support our players expressing their views on important social issues,” Borders said. “Standing for an anthem is a sign of respect and a demonstration of unity across many cultures throughout the world.
“The call to action is for all of us to invest time and resources to help rebuild and strengthen our communities. And we have been actively working with the players on this next impactful effort.”
Meanwhile, in Charlotte, violent protesters attacked journalists, property, and each other. The demonstration-cum-riot arose in response to the shooting of Keith Lamont Scott, who was allegedly armed at the time he was shot. The officer who shot him is also black.
More professional sports players have begun boycotting the national anthem after Colin Kapernick, second-string quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, began doing so before preseason games in the National Football League last month.
Joel B. Pollak is Senior Editor-at-Large at Breitbart News. His new book, See No Evil: 19 Hard Truths the Left Can’t Handle, is available from Regnery through Amazon. Follow him on Twitter at @joelpollak.