The New York Liberty played a game against the Indiana Fever this morning, the first game either team has played since being fined by the WNBA for wearing clothing that expressed support for Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, Black Lives Matter, and the slain Dallas police officers. Based on events that took place after the game, it doesn’t look like the players have any intention of staying silent.
Liberty forward Tina Charles was named the WNBA player of the month after the game, and accepted the award with her team-branded warmups turned inside out. She explained her actions on Instagram:
When media members entered the Liberty locker room, the team addressed reporters as a unit and informed them that they would not be answering any basketball questions, but would be happy to talk about the issues they’ve been protesting. Charles, Tanisha Wright, and Swin Cash spoke on behalf of the team, and presented a clear-eyed explanation of their actions. Their full statements, which can be seen here, are well worth your time.
“We feel like America has a problem with the police brutality that’s going on with black lives around here, and we just want to use our voices and use our platform to advocate for that,” said Wright. “Just because someone says ‘Black Lives Matter’ doesn’t mean that other lives don’t matter. People put out this imaginary ‘black lives only matter’ whenever people say, ‘Black lives matter.’ What we’re saying is, ‘Black lives matter, too.’ Period.”
“We really would appreciate if people stopped making our support of Black Lives Matter, an issue that is so critical in our society right now, as us not supporting the police,” added Cash. “There’s a lot of women in this room right now, in the WNBA, who have family members who are in law enforcement... People need to understand that it’s not mutually exclusive. You can support both things.”
While the Liberty were staging their media blackout, the Indiana Fever were doing the same thing in the visiting locker room:
Carmelo Anthony has made statements recently expressing his desire for his colleagues to be more outspoken about political issues they believe in. If Anthony and other NBA players who want to speak out are looking for examples of how to do so effectively, they should take note of what happened in the WNBA today.