INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Prior to the Indiana Fever’s WNBA playoff opener against the Phoenix Mercury Tuesday night, the entire team knelt as the national anthem was played.
Two Mercury players also knelt during the anthem.
“I’m proud that they are unified. I’m proud they talk about it and do things together,” head coach Stephanie White said. “I think that there’s a respectful way to affect social change. I think any time our players have a conversation about doing it in a respectful way, I appreciate that and I applaud them for that.”
“One thing I talked about, even before the Olympic break was just being able to unite players for a common cause,” Tamika Catchings said. “In social injustice and being able to stand firm in what we believe. Tonight was just another example of that.”
In recent weeks, several athletes across the nation, including U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe have joined San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling during the national anthem. Kaepernick has said his action is an effort to bring attention to racial inequality.
This isn’t the first time this season Fever players made a statement before a game. In July, the team and players were initially fined by the WNBA for wearing black warmup shirts before a game. The fines were later rescinded by the league.