Los Angeles Sparks Leave Court Before National Anthem In Game 1 Of WNBA Finals

Photo of Minnesota Lynx: Stacy Bengs/AP

The Los Angeles Sparks walked off the court prior to the
national anthem before today’s Game 1 of the WNBA Finals in
Minnesota, and returned to the court after the song concluded.

A statement released by the
WNBPA explained the reasons behind the demonstration:

“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.

“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.

“This is our opportunity to unite rather than divide our
country. This is our sole focus.”

The Sparks’ opponents, the Minnesota Lynx, stayed on the court
and linked arms during the anthem. The Lynx made headlines last
year when off-duty police officers quit their jobs at
a game after members of the team spoke out against violence
following the killing of Philando Castile
by a police officer
.

The Sparks won, 85-84, to open the best-of-five series.

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