Minneapolis Cops Leave WNBA Game Over BLM Shirt

Minneapolis Cops Leave WNBA Game Over BLM Shirt

Four Minneapolis cops walked off from a basketball game between the Minnesota Lynx and Dallas Wings this past Saturday, when team members from the former warmed up in Black Lives Matter t-shirts.

According to the Minneapolis Star Tribune the officers, who were working off-duty and providing security at the event, left the game that night and removed themselves from a list of officers working future games, because of the shirts. The front of them read "Change starts with us. Justice & accountability," while the back featured the names of Alton Sterling and Philando Castile, the two black men fatally killed by police officers in Louisiana and Minnesota, respectively. It also displayed the Dallas Police Department emblem and the phrase, "Black Lives Matter."

"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 during a pregame press conference prior to the game. "It is 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."

Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Police Officers Federation of Minneapolis, praised the officers for quitting. "I commend them for it," Kroll said. When asked if other officers will fill in for those who quit Kroll responded, "If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there."

However, the players' stance seems to be one of overall support for both Black Lives Matter and the police that were killed in Dallas. During that same press conference Lynx forward Rebekkah Brunson said the players were "wearing shirts to honor and mourn the loss of precious American citizens and to plead change for all of us." The team also denounced the "senseless ambush" of Dallas police.

And even after being made aware of the off-duty officers' concerns the team still responded in a respectful manner.

"While our players' 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. At no time was the safety of our game in question as Target Center staffs extra personnel for each and every game. The Lynx and the entire WNBA have been saddened by the recent shootings in Dallas, Baton Rouge, and St. Paul. We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies."

Hopefully a dialogue does come about between the basketball team and the Minneapolis Police Department, but until then progress can't and won't be made.