After the knee to the ground of Colin Kaepernick, the marks of protest in the world of the US sport pass a new course. The players of New York and Seattle chose to leave the field before the US national anthem sounded on Saturday at the opening of the WNBA, the North American Women’s Basketball League, showing their support for the “Black Lives Matter” movement, Saturday in Bradenton ( Florida). Remained in the corridors of the locker rooms during the “Star-Spangled Banner”, the two formations then paid tribute to Breonna Taylor, victim of police officers last March.
Five days before the NBA, the WNBA officially resumed competition. And as their male counterparts, also isolated not far in the Disney World bubble, have promised, the basketball players have decided to express by this strong gesture their protest against social injustice two months to the day after the death of George Floyd, this black man who died of asphyxiation after his arrest in Minneapolis.
“Impose this moment of recognition and not a moment of silence”
“Kneeling doesn’t seem like enough to protest“, justified Layshia Clarendon, the captain of the New York Liberty. “I don’t want to hear the anthem, I don’t want to go near it, because it is preposterous that justice and freedom are just not offered to everyone in the same way“.
Once back on the floor, Clarendon and the captain of the Seattle Storm, Breanna Stewart, took the floor to pay tribute to Breonna Taylor, a black woman killed by police in her apartment in March, and support the “Say Her Name” campaign to seek justice for African-American victims of police violence. “We thought it was very appropriate to impose this moment of recognition and not a moment of silence. Because we are by no means silent“, then justified Clarendon.
All of the players wore the name of the 26-year-old paramedic, who was at home with her partner in Louisville, below their own names, when police from that city in the central United States broke down her door without warning. , according to the family lawyer.
The officers, armed with a search warrant, were acting within the framework of an erroneous search notice concerning a suspect who no longer lived in the building and who was already in detention. They hit the young woman with at least eight bullets, according to the lawyer.
The police officers responsible for his death have not been arrested, a request from many other personalities in American sports, including the Lakers superstar LeBron James, who called for justice for Breonna Taylor on Thursday night.
The meeting finally saw Seattle win 87-71 against New York, for the professional debut of the new star of women’s basketball Sabrina Ionescu (12 points, 4 assists) with Liberty. The French international Bria Hartley (11 points, 5 assists), she lost with her franchise of Phoenix against the Los Angeles Sparks (76-99) for this first night of the season.