The New York Liberty and the Seattle Storm walked off the court during the national anthem ahead of the WNBA’s season-opening game in Bradenton, Florida, on Saturday as a form of peaceful protest.
Each player wore Breonna Taylor’s name on the back of their jerseys, and both teams held a 26 second moment of silence in her honor, Deadline reports. Breonna Taylor, 26, was killed by police executing a no-knock warrant on her home.
“We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home,” Liberty player Layshia Clarendon said. “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. We will say her name. Sandra Bland. Atatiana Jefferson. Dominique Remy Fells. Breonna Taylor. We will be a voice for the voiceless.”
The walk-off is part of a season-long initiative called the Justice Movement that the WNBA, in partnership with the Women’s National Basketball Players Association, announced earlier this month. This season, games will “honor the Black Lives Matter Movement and the #SayHerName Campaign,” and will continue “conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy and gun control amongst other important societal issues.”
— ESPN (@espn) July 25, 2020