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Storm, Liberty make emphatic statement; walkout before National Anthem



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BRADENTON, FL – The opening tip-off for the kickoff of the 2020 WNBA season hadn’t even taken place before it made a statement, as the New York Liberty and Seattle Storm players walked off the court before the playing of the National Anthem. Both teams respectfully left the court and went to their locker room.

The walk-off was a planned part of the league’s season-long initiative called the Justice Movement that the league and its players’ association (WNBPA) had announced earlier in July. Through this and other coordinated actions, the organizers of the movement hope to to be a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other important societal issues,” according to a statement from the league.

“We’re dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home,” said New York Liberty player Layshia Clarendon, who is one of the leaders of the initiative as well as WNBPA vice president. “We will say her name.”

Earlier before the game tipped off, the teams also observed a 26-second moment of silence in honor of Taylor, one second for each year of her life. The league is also dedicating its season to the “Say Her Name” campaign, which is committed to fighting for social justice for Black women. Among those they are fighting for is Sandra Bland, who died in police custody in a Dallas jail in 2015.

Seattle ended up winning the game 87-71.

Chris Bullock
Chris Bullock
Before joining The Ball Out, Chris Bullock was part of SB Nation's Swish Appeal for nearly three years, covering everything women's basketball. Chris has had the honor of doing live coverage of the WNBA Finals, the NCAA Tournament, and also was given his own column, "The Triple Double". A self-described "foodaholic", Chris lives in the San Diego area with his wife and two daughters, and also hosts his own podcast, "Conscious Cravings", where he speaks about his experience as a mental health advocate.

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