The entire Indiana Fever women’s basketball team kneeled during the playing of the national anthem before their game against the Phoenix Mercury in Indianapolis Sept. 21. Two Mercury players, Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone, did the same. The action was part of spreading protests by athletes — both African-Americans and Caucasians — begun by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, against cop brutality, killings and racist discrimination.
“The reason these guys are kneeling, the reason we’re locking arms is to bring people together to make people aware that this is not right,” Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman told a news conference Sept. 21, days after cops killed Terence Crutcher in Tulsa, Oklahoma, and Keith Lamont Scott in Charlotte, North Carolina. “They’re trying to bring people together and unite them for a cause.”
About two dozen NFL players have joined the protest, as well as athletes from college and high school football and volleyball teams, and cheerleaders at Howard University in Washington, D.C. Prior to their game Sept. 25 Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton wore a black T-shirt that read, “Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere,” as protesters rallied by the stadium.
“We all have inalienable rights as a citizen of this country and they’re being violated, and that’s what I think Colin is standing up for,” 49ers coach Chip Kelly told ESPN, backing Kaepernick’s protest actions.