A woman performing the national anthem prior to an NBA preseason game in Miami did so while kneeling at midcourt, the AP reports. Denasia Lawrence opened her jacket just before she started to sing, revealing a "Black Lives Matter" shirt, then dropped to her left knee and performed the song. She said it was her way of protesting racial oppression. "We're being unjustly killed and overly criminalized," Lawrence wrote in a Facebook post. "I took the opportunity to sing and kneel to show that we belong in this country and that we have the right to respectfully protest injustices against us." Miami Heat officials said they had no idea Lawrence, a social worker, was planning a protest. "I didn't get paid to sing the national anthem nor was this moment about any sort of fame," Lawrence wrote. "Black Lives Matter is far larger than a hashtag, it's a rallying cry."
Heat guard Wayne Ellington often speaks about the need to curb gun violence, after his father was shot and killed two years ago. He had his eyes closed for most of the anthem Friday, as per his own custom, though was aware of Lawrence's actions. "At the end of the day, to each his own," Ellington said. "If she feels like that's the way she wants to stand for it, then more power to her." (Read more national anthem stories.)