Prior to tip-off of Wednesday night’s matchup in Washington, D.C., Los Angeles Sparks and Washington Mystics players locked arms in unison in response to this weekend’s events in Charlottesville, Virginia.
The show of solidarity from Sparks and Mystics players came during the National Anthem and it occurred during a nationally televised game on ESPN2.
The Washington Post learned that the push to honor those who died this weekend—including 32-year-old Heather Heyer—was led by the Mystics’ Kristi Toliver. They also obtained this joint statement from the two teams.
It is not a surprise that racism and bigotry exist in this country, but it is not something we stand for in any way. We feel great shock, sickness, and sadness with the degree of acceptance and normalization of this hatred, culminating in ways in the events in Charlottesville this past weekend.
On behalf of both the Mystics and Sparks, we feel pain and disbelief following the blatant hate displayed and the President’s response to it. There is no way to innocently protest alongside a hate-based group and to take pause on condemning the acts that took place is inexcusable.
Prior to the game, Nneka Ogwumike, who is also president of the WNBPA, spoke with Lindsay Gibbs of ThinkProgress.
We just want to stand in lieu of the socio-political climate, just to remind everyone that it’s important to stay together in the midst of some tumultuous times.
The WNBA’s president, Lisa Borders, also tweeted this statement in support of the demonstration at Capitol One Arena.
In regards to Charlottesville. pic.twitter.com/2nZlZ8XmUj
— Lisa Borders (@WNBAPrez) August 17, 2017
There was also a statement from Terri Jackson, Director of Operations for the WNBPA.
— WNBPA (@TheWNBPA) August 16, 2017
In addition, the Minnesota Lynx and Seattle Storm held a moment of silence prior to its tipoff at Key Arena.
— Lynx PR (@Lynx_PR) August 17, 2017
The New York Liberty did something similar a few days ago prior to hosting the Sparks at Madison Square Garden on August 13.
— Lenn Robbins (@LennRobbins) August 13, 2017
Dallas Wings head coach Fred Williams was also a guest on David Siegel’s Dishin’ and Swishin’ podcast, and offered his reaction to this past weekend’s events.
We all come from different nationalities and different ways of life. We’ve always said. ‘One team.’ And I think that’s how the world has to be. The nation has to be that way as well–be one team and be together.