The Indiana Fever were eliminated from the WNBA playoffs after losing 87-78 to the Phoenix Mercury last night. Before the game started, every player on the Fever roster locked arms and knelt during the singing of the national anthem, in protest of racial injustice in America.
According to ESPN, the idea for the whole team to kneel was pitched by veteran forward Tamika Catchings. Fever player Marissa Coleman explained the team’s thinking:
“It was unanimous that we were going to do it together,” Fever player Marissa Coleman said. “We have a platform, and I think it’s a disservice if we don’t use it. This was bigger than basketball. As important as this game was, there are other things going on in this world. It’s just to get conversations started.”
The Fever were joined in protest by two Mercury players, Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone, who also knelt during the singing of the anthem.
The Fever were one of the WNBA teams that staged similar protests this summer, following the shooting deaths of Philando Castile, Alton Sterling, and multiple Dallas police officers. The players were fined by the WNBA for wearing black warmup shirts before a game, but continued to protest despite the fines.