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Court Empties After Teams Honor Breonna Taylor

WNBA players dedicate season to victim, then leave for national anthem
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 26, 2020 9:39 AM CDT

(Newser) – The WNBA and its players have announced that they're playing this season for the Louisville woman shot to death by police in March. "We are dedicating this season to Breonna Taylor, an outstanding EMT who was murdered over 130 days ago in her home," said Layshia Clarendon of the New York Liberty during a tribute on opening day. "Breonna Taylor was dedicated and committed to uplifting everyone around her." The league's dedication includes the Say Her Name campaign, Clarendon said—"a campaign committed to saying the names and fighting for justice for Black women, Black women who are so often forgotten in this fight for justice, who do not have people marching in the streets for them. We will say her name." Players on the Liberty and Seattle Storm wore jerseys with Taylor's name on them for the game, Mashable reports.

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After a 26-second moment of recognition—Taylor was 26 when she was killed—players on both teams walked off the court, returning after the national anthem had been played. The game was in Bradenton, Florida, where the league has established a bubble. Players may choose to kneel during the anthem as the season progresses, said Clarendon, who's on the WNBA's new Social Justice Council. But the Liberty and Storm wanted to do something more emphatic for opening day. "Kneeling doesn't even feel like enough to protest," Clarendon said, per ESPN. "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." Members of the new council spoke with Taylor's mother, Tamika Palmer, last week. WNBA players are also campaigning for voting rights this season. (Read more Breonna Taylor stories.)

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