WNBA Players Pay Tribute to Black Lives Matter, Security Staff Quit In Protest

WNBA Players Pay Tribute to Black Lives Matter, Security Staff Quit In Protest
On Saturday, before their game against the New York Liberty, several players from the WNBA’s Minnesota Lynx appeared wearing #BlackLivesMatter t-shirts. Unfortunately, several off-duty police officers who were working security quit their jobs in protest and walked out on the game.
Minnesota, who’s roster features All-Stars Maya Moore and Lindsay Whalen, warmed up in shirts featuring the phrase: “Change Starts With Us”. They also held a press conference to denounce racial profiling and had a minute of silence for Alton Sterling and Philando Castille.
During the press conference, Maya Moore told reporters:
“We as a nation can decide to stand up for what is right, no matter your race, background or social status. It is time that we take a deep look at our ability to be compassionate and empathetic to those suffering from the problems that are deep within our society. Again, this is a human issue, and we need to speak out for change together.”
Unfortunately, the four off-duty police officers working the event took the statement as an assault on their profession. After the officers quit, the president of the Minneapolis Police Federation commended them for their action. The decision to quit in protest seems to have been pre-planned as the Lynx management made all of their staff aware of what would be taking place, and other a handful of other officers had decided to remove themselves beforehand.
Luckily, not everyone was quite as critical of the tribute. Several New York Liberty team-members expressed their support in an interview with the New York Daily News. Center Carolyn Swords had this to say:

“It was really disappointing to see that happen. I think the object was to engage in a conversation. But by removing yourself from the situation the conversation can’t happen. Conversations about race relations and what’s going on in our community are going to be uncomfortable, but they’re necessary in order for us to get to a place so that we’re not having this loss of life. Be a little uncomfortable, and try to help each other understand how the sides are feeling.”

Backup center Kiah Stokes also made a similar sentiment:

“From what I know and from what I saw the shirts that they wore in Minnesota weren’t anything against the cops. They understand that they have a difficult job. They had the Dallas PD badge on it, so they were supporting and mourning the lives of those officers. It was sad that they had to walk out, but you know everyone has their own opinion, and they are entitled to that. I just wish it wouldn’t happen. I just wish that we could get the support of the cops, because obviously black lives matter and all lives do matter and we are also supporting the police. It’s just unfortunate that they felt a different type of way and that they wanted to walk out. I would love to wear the shirts again and make this relevant. But I don’t want to make people feel uncomfortable where they have to leave. I just want them to know that we also support black lives matter and it has to be changed. And I don’t think there’s anything wrong with supporting both sides.”

On Sunday, before their following game, the Liberty’s guard Sugar Rodgers also appeared in a protest shirt. Rodgers shirt, however, featured both #BlackLivesMatter and #Dallas5.
[Photo via Judd Legum‘s Twitter page.]