The Minnesota Lynx showed their support to African-Americans by wearing Black Lives Matter shirts during their warm up against the San Antonio Stars. But their statement did not sit well as four off-duty officers walked out feeling that they were all judged before the completion of an investigation that saw two African-Americans killed by cops last week.
The four officers work during their off-duty in ensuring safety in the Lynx game in the WNBA. According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune, the incident took place during the Lynx pre-game warm-ups. All of its players wore black T-shirts that read “Change starts with us, justice and accountability” and on the back had Philando Castile’s and Alton Sterling’s names along with “Black Lives Matter” and a Dallas Police Department emblem. The officers saw this and just walked out of the building.
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised the officers for quitting. He added that the four officers also removed themselves from a list of officers working future games. Kroll did not also give the names of the officers who walked out of the Lynx-Stars match.
“I commend them for it. Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games. If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there,” he said.
Prior to the incident, four members of the Lynx held a press conference explaining their side. Lynx forward Maya Moore told reporters that they are making a statement in support of those lives, which were taken due to racial profiling. She added that it is never wrong to stand by what is right and stressed that people should look deep into the “real” problems of society today.
“We as a nation can decide to stand up for what is right, no matter your race, background or social status,” forward Maya Moore told reporters. “It is a time that we take a deep look at our ability to be compassionate and empathetic to those suffering from the problems that are deep within our society. Again, this is a human issue, and we need to speak out for change together.”
The three-time WNBA champions Lynx issued a statement saying that they were made aware of the incident and stand by their players, who are fighting a different kind of ball game called “life.” They also respected the actions of the officers, as they have their own beliefs and guidelines to follow.
“The Lynx organization was made aware of the concerns of the off-duty Minneapolis police officers,” the team said in a statement. “While our player’s message mourned the loss of life due to last week’s shootings, we respect the right of those individual officers to express their own beliefs in their own way. … We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies.
The Lynx incident was triggered after two African-Americans namely Philando Castile and Alton Sterling were shot by police officers in different locations. Castile was shot after he was pulled over by officers in Minnesota while Sterling was shot after officers tackled him in Louisiana. Thorough investigations have been conducted over the incidents but most likely it would not yield any conviction and charges.
The Lynx showed their support to the community and hope that this kind of violence against race, religion, and status would end. The Lynx are calling for justice and healing not only for the families who lost their loved ones but also for the nation as a whole.
Photo Courtesy: Minnesota Lynx @minnesotalynx/Twitter