— -- The entire Indiana Fever WNBA team knelt during the national anthem before a playoff game Wednesday night, the first such protest involving an entire professional sports team.
The Fever join the ranks of numerous pro athletes who have followed the lead of San Fancisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who said he wanted to call attention to the oppression of "black people and people of color."
"I'm proud of y'all for doing that together. Being in that together," Fever head coach Stephanie White told the team in a pre-game huddle recorded by ESPN. "That's big. That's big. It's bigger than basketball, right? Bigger than basketball. Alright? So let's go out and let's use that energy. Let's use that togetherness on the floor."
The Fever went on to lose to the Phoenix Mercury on their home floor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis by a score of 89 to 78.
A handful of members from Mercury also knelt, reports ABC affiliate WRTV.
"That's the great thing about our team is we will sit down and have open-minded conversations," said Fever point guard Briann January. "Tonight, after having conversations about the recent incidents that have gone on, we came together and we were united in making that stand. Our hope is to really create conversations."
"There's a respectful way to affect social change," White added in a post-game interview, saying that she didn't know about the protest beforehand but that she supported it. "Any time our players have a conversation about doing it in a respectful way, I appreciate that and I applaud them for that."