WNBA dedicating opening weekend to Black Lives Matter
The WNBA will dedicate its first weekend of games, set to begin July 25, to the Black Lives Matter movement.
The league’s 12 franchises will display the name of Breonna Taylor on team uniforms for the opening weekend, with players given the option to keep the name on their jerseys for future games, The Associated Press reported.
Players will also wear warm-up shirts reading “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” across the back throughout the season, according to the AP.
Taylor, a Louisville, Ky., emergency medical technician, was fatally shot on March 12 by police officers who entered her apartment with the use of a “no-knock” warrant that allows police to enter without identifying themselves.
The police had won the warrant because they argued that other people they were investigating on possible drug charges had had packages sent to Taylor’s apartment. No drugs were found in the apartment.
Police also said they knocked before entering the apartment, at which point Taylor’s boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, fired on them. Waker said he and Taylor had heard aggressive knocking but did not hear the police identify themselves.
No arrests have been made in Taylor’s death.
“As we build on the momentum for women’s sports and the WNBA from last season, we’re incredibly grateful to our broadcast partners who have shown a continued commitment to bringing the WNBA to fans across the country on their biggest platforms,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said, according to the AP.
The announcement comes after Sen. Kelly Loeffler (R-Ga.), co-owner of the Atlanta Dream, denouncing the Black Lives Matter organization.
The senator, who is facing a tough reelection challenge in which she is battling Democrats and Republicans including Rep. Doug Collins, said last week that “we should be united in our goal to remove politics from sports.”
She also charged that Black Lives Matter is opposed to the nuclear family, an apparent reference to a statement on the group’s website saying “we disrupt the Western-prescribed nuclear family structure requirement by supporting each other as extended families and ‘villages’ that collectively care for one another.”
The Black Lives Matter organization is a civil rights group with a defined platform and nationwide chapters, but the term also refers to the unstructured social movement associated with protests against racial injustice.
The WNBA’s players union hit back at Loeffler’s comments, saying “The WNBA is based on the principle of equal and fair treatment of all people and we, along with the teams and players, will continue to use our platforms to vigorously advocate for social justice.”
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