INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- The entire roster of the Indiana Fever took a knee during the national anthem Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as the WNBA team prepared to take on the Phoenix Mercury.
The players locked arms and lowered their heads as the anthem played. They were joined by two Mercury players, according to our partners at the IndyStar.
Taking a knee during the national anthem started with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said the silent protest was meant to criticize racial injustice.
The football player's protest spread across the nation, creating along line of professional athletes who joined in. President Obama even spoke on the matter, saying Kaepernick was exercising his constitutional rights.
This time though, it wasn't a player or two, it was the whole roster.
The Fever lost 89-78, marking the final game for star Tamika Catchings and coach Stephanie White.
Pacers Sports and Entertainment issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“During the Indiana Fever versus Phoenix Mercury playoff game last night, the Fever players conducted a silent protest by kneeling during the singing of the national anthem. While Pacers Sports and Entertainment believes that our players should follow WNBA protocol, which is to stand respectfully during the anthem, we also understand that they have the right to have their voices heard. We are very proud of our role in serving the community in Indianapolis and it is our hope going forward that we can collaborate with the players in a positive way, create opportunities for meaningful discussions, and contribute to a stronger, safer and more unified community.”
People on social media reacted with mixed emotions. Many were outraged, while others showed support. One fan at the game emailed FOX59 to say the protest caused him to walk out.
— Austin Brooks (@AustinBrooksie) September 21, 2016
— Brady Days (@coachdays82) September 21, 2016
Looks like the #Fever are taking a knee during the anthem. Whatever.
— Levi Seymour (@L_Seymour) September 21, 2016
— Eduardo Samaniego 🌹 (@Eduardo4Action) September 21, 2016
The Indiana Fever took a knee during the national anthem before their playoff game. Salute.
— Jay (@JayJeanius) September 21, 2016
Whole Fever team taking a knee for anthem tonight. Two Phoenix players do too. pic.twitter.com/1yoxJShnuc
— Gregg Doyel (@GreggDoyelStar) September 21, 2016