The Indiana Fever began their first-round game in the WNBA playoffs by locking arms and kneeling as a team during the playing of the national anthem Wednesday.
Two players for the Phoenix Mercury, Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone, joined in the protest. Coaches for both teams, as well as the rest of the Phoenix Mercury team, remained standing
ABC News reports that Tamika Catchings, who played the final game of her career Wednesday night, reached out to her teammates Tuesday and asked them what they thought about kneeling during the national anthem.
Fever player Marissa Coleman said the team’s decision was unanimous.
“We have a platform,” Coleman said. “I think it’s a disservice if we don’t use it. This was bigger than basketball. As important as this game was, there are other things going on in this world. It’s just to get conversations started.”
Coleman posted a longer statement on her Twitter account.
— Marissa Coleman (@MarissaC_25) September 22, 2016
Fever coach Stephanie White did not kneel during the anthem, but Coleman said that White told the team how proud she was of their actions and of being a part of their organization.
Diana Taurasi of Phoenix also didn’t kneel, but said that should not be taken as a sign that she didn’t support those who did.
WNBA President Lisa Borders issued the following statement:
I support our players expressing their views on important social issues. Standing for an anthem is a sign of respect and a demonstration of unity across many cultures throughout the world.
The call to action is for all of us to invest time and resources to help rebuild and strengthen our communities. And we have been actively working with the players on this next impactful effort.
Read more at ABC News.