With the history of the WNBA’s activism – especially in the past two years – WNBA president Lisa Borders knew that it was likely her players would have some sort of gesture during the national anthem at the first game of the Finals on Sunday.
“We all have watched television today and our social media feeds and we know this is an interesting time in our country,” she told reporters in a pregame press conference. “Let me just say our Commissioner, my colleague and my friend Adam Silver put out a statement yesterday and I want you all to know that I personally believe all of us stand in full support with Adam, our big brother – the NBA – and our entire enterprise.
“Our players are some of the most socially conscious that you will ever find,” she continued. “You have seen that in the years before I got here and I’m sure it will continue in the future.”
It did, only a short time later. The Los Angeles Sparks went to the locker room during the national anthem and the Minnesota Lynx linked arms.
The gesture, as Borders said, is unsurprising. Before Colin Kaepernick took a knee in protest of police brutality, WNBA players wore t-shirts in support of Black Lives Matter and to protest police brutality. They were fined and then staged a media blackout until the fines were rescinded.
They also, as Borders point out, are part of the same basketball family as Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors who found themselves on the end of Donald Trump’s ire on Saturday. Borders herself, as she pointed out, grew up during the Civil Rights movement and was the granddaughter of a prominent civil rights activist.
“We still have more work to do,” she added in her press conference on Sunday.
“America is a democracy but this is an experiment that has worked better than anywhere else in the world, but it is an experiment,” she said. “And we work to perfect the union everyday. So we want to part of a constructive dialogue….