Over the weekend, tensions peaked over NFL protests when dozens of players opted to kneel during the national anthem. What started as a solitary effort by Colin Kaepernick in 2016 has turned into a common practice, with a dramatic increase on Sunday’s games after President Trump directly discouraged the protests.
Now, the protests are extending beyond football. This week, the WNBA finals are taking place between the LA Sparks and the Minnesota Lynx. The LA Sparks became the first basketball team to opt to walk back to their locker room during the pre-game national anthem.
The teams will head to their third finals game on Thursday. The Sparks protested the anthem at their first two games already, and are expected to continue to stay in their locker room during the anthem throughout the rest of the series.
While the Sparks walked back to their locker room during the national anthem, the Lynx linked arms and stood in the middle of the court. Normally, the other team would have been right across from them.
After the first game, the WNBA Players Association released a statement about the team’s decision.
They said, "After careful and thoughtful discussion, the players of the Los Angeles Sparks unanimously determined that we would remain in the locker room in solidarity with the many players of the NFL, who took part in demonstrations today all over the country and across the globe.”
“We will use the time to reflect and engage in constructive conversation about our country,” they continued. “This demonstration of support is consistent with who we are as individuals, athletes, teammates, citizens. It is consistent with our mission as a union of players and our core values.”
The team said that they wanted to use the time to stand in solidarity with their NFL friends. They said, “This is our opportunity to unite rather than divide our country. This is our sole focus."
After the team came back on the floor, the crowd loudly booed them at both games. The video below shows how loud the crowd became at the end of the anthem right when the team emerges on the court.
Players Nneka Ogwumike and Candace Parker have commented about the protests, explaining that their decision to remain out of sight during the national anthem was not meant to harm anyone. They said that it was not intended to be derogatory toward the flag or American soldiers.
What do you think about this? Are these protests going to continue on to several other sports? Let us know your thoughts on Facebook. In other news, "The View" just announced their new conservative cohost. Are you a fan?