New York Liberty guard Brittany Boyd bowed her head while sitting on the bench during the national anthem as the rest of her team locked arms before their first playoff game against the Phoenix Mercury at Madison Square Garden on Saturday. Mercury players Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone kneeled.
Boyd took to Instagram to commend 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick’s stand last week.
Dear @kaepernick7 , I first want to say THANK YOU. Thank you for having the courage and determination to do what many wish that they could but are afraid to. As a country, we have a plethora of social issues that need to be addressed. You have used your platform to be a catalyst for shining light on otherwise unseen darkness. We have a history of attempting to sweep issues of social injustice under the rug and it is destroying us from the inside out. Your wit and relentless effort has given others the opportunity to unite and band together on a matter of such high importance. As a Black woman, a professional athlete, an American citizen, I stand in solidarity with you. The stand you have taken as a Black male athlete has sparked such fiery conversation. Conversation that might not otherwise be held. The young and the old are being educated in ways that are so imperative to our understanding. It is no easy feat to say what no one wants you to hear or even try to understand, but you have done it and continue to do it so powerfully. I want you to know that no matter the peril of the journey, you are not alone. We see you, and we commend you my brotha! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you! - @bboydtakeyourtime #staywoke
In the first round of the playoffs, the entire Indiana Fever team kneeled while locking arms during the anthem prior on Wednesday. Bone and Bass again joined the Fever by kneeling at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.
Two members of Phoenix Mercury, Kelsey Bone and Mistie Bass, kneel during National Anthem tonight at WNBA playoffs. pic.twitter.com/tmtAbUXHZb— Mechelle Voepel (@MechelleV) September 21, 2016
Though ESPN News didn’t air the Fever’s protest live, it was shown at the end of the first quarter accompanied by words of praise from their coach Stephanie White.
"I’m proud of y’all for doing that together, leading that together, that’s big" said White. "It’s bigger than basketball, right. So let’s use that energy and use that togetherness on the floor."
The Fever, Mercury and Liberty were three of four teams fined in July for wearing black T-shirts against league uniform policy in warm-ups. The shirts were worn to promote peace after two black men — Philando Castile and Alton Sterling — were shot and killed by police, and five Dallas officers were slain. The fines were eventually dropped by the league.
"We’re still advocating for it. We’re still advocating for Black Lives Matter," Liberty forward Tina Charles told SB Nation before the fines were levied. "Wearing a standard Adidas shirt, knowing that the WNBA is sponsored by Adidas. We’re still advocating for it and just more of a change in the system of what’s going on right now."
Following a game against between the Fever and Liberty in July, the team’s "blacked out the media," only opening up the locker room to talk about issues in society.
Bone and Bass, the Mercury players who kneeled, were also active on social media during the time their teams were fined for wearing T-shirts.