The Minnesota Lynx WNBA team honored Alton Sterling, Philando Castile and the five Dallas police officers killed last week by donning warm-ups advocating for systemic change. The July 10 action and pre-game press conference compelled four off-duty Minneapolis police officers, who were providing security during the game at the city’s Target Center, to walk off their posts. That decision was praised by the head of the officers’ union.
"I commend them for it," Lt. Bob Kroll, the Minneapolis Police Federation’s president, told the Star Tribune yesterday (July 12). Kroll added that fewer and fewer officers would work at Lynx games "if [the players] are going to keep their stance." According to Kroll, officers work game security on an independent contract and "can start or stop a job whenever they want."
An up close look at the warm-up shirts #LosLynx are wearing to honor #AltonSterling #PhilandoCastile & #DallasPD pic.twitter.com/veqoGXP4VZ
— Minnesota Lynx (@minnesotalynx) July 9, 2016
The Lynx players wore black shirts that read "Change Starts With Us" and "Justice & Accountability" on the front, as well as "Alton Sterling," "Philando Castile" and "Black Lives Matter" on the back. The shirts also featured the Dallas Police Department emblem.
Police killed Philando Castile in Falcon Heights, a nearby suburb. Fittingly, the Lynx faced off against the Dallas Wings that night.
"We are highlighting a longtime problem of racial profiling," forward Maya Moore said during the pre-game press conference.