Before the game, New York Liberty player Layshia Clarendon paid tribute to Taylor, the 26-year-old Black woman who was shot eight times in her own home by Louisville Metro Police officers in March.
“We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor — an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home,” Clarendon said according to TIME. “Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around here.”
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Clarendon added that WNBA will be dedicating the season to the “Say Her Name” campaign, “a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice of Black women.”
“Black women are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, who don’t have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name: Sandra Bland, Atatiana Jefferson, Dominique “Rem’mie” Fells and Breonna Taylor. We will be a voice for the voiceless.”
It didn’t stop there. Once the game started, the Storm and Liberty players walked off of the basketball court before the National Anthem was played. The anthem was outed as a symbol of racism when Colin Kaepernick began kneeling while it was played during NFL games in opposition to police brutality and racial injustice.
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“I don’t want to hear the anthem, I don’t want to stand out there. I don’t want to be anywhere near it, because it’s ridiculous that justice and freedom are just not offered to everybody equally,” Clarendon told ESPN.
Black Lives Matter was also painted onto the basketball court. Taylor’s name was displayed on the back of all the players’ jerseys. There were also 26 seconds of silence before the game started in honor of Taylor’s age.