Friday, September 23, 2016

Indiana Fever players respond to support and backlash after kneeling during anthem

Posted By on Fri, Sep 23, 2016 at 10:25 AM

click to enlarge The Fever team kneeling together on Wednesday before their playoff loss to Phoenix - INDIANAFEVER.COM
  • IndianaFever.com
  • The Fever team kneeling together on Wednesday before their playoff loss to Phoenix
 

The Indiana Fever knew that they would enter the national news cycle when they all took a knee together as a team during Wednesday's playoff game. They were, after all, the first professional sports team to kneel all together during the National Anthem. And, amid loud support and backlash, the players came correct, with moving statements posted on their official team's site and personal social media accounts. 

Fever small forward Marissa Coleman penned a heavily circulated letter to fans posted to the Fever's site. 

I promise it is humanly possible and okay to be for Black Lives Matters, still support the hard working and dedicated officers and know that all lives matters. I promise it’s humanly possible to take a knee to spark conversations/bring awareness and still support our troops. I promise. You should try it. ... 
For those who have sent me hate messages/tweets or said you’re no longer a fan….what kind of American are you? How are you attempting to help change this country for the better? I’m almost positive if I asked, you all are the same ones who want to “make America great again”.
I’ve been told to stay in my lane and “just play basketball”. Basketball is what I do, it is NOT who I am. I will not be confined to the lines of my sport. Those who expect my teammates and I to simply play basketball are missing out on some phenomenal and educated women. Women who impact their communities in many ways.
Wednesday's game was the last time Tamika Catchings walked off the Bankers Life Fieldhouse court. She participated with the rest of her team in the silent protest, and posted a letter on her Instagram last night that she received from a fan critiquing the Fever team's actions. Catchings responded with a letter of her own. 

Sometimes doing something “uncomfortable” sparks change (good and bad), but it always allows us to grow. What my @indianafever teammates and I did last night was bigger than the game itself. While basketball is what we do, it is not who we are! The struggle is real, but even moreso, the conversations that NEED to be going on are what we’re trying to get too. THIS is why the conversation must continue. Everyday, AS AN AMERICAN, I strive to make a difference in WHATEVER ways I can to impact our communities and the lives of everyone around me. Constantly I lay the same passion I have on the court, out in the community to ensure that I’m not just stating I want a change, but I’m trying to BE THE CHANGE. Everyone will have their own opinion as far as to how they feel, and even as I knelt with my team, arms intertwined, I prayed to God the whole time asking for His hand, wisdom, and His strength to do the uncomfortable. I stand firm to being able to represent my country and for every game that I’ve EVER played I’ve stood attentively, hand over my heart, praying to God for my teammates, the opponents and everyone in the building as they’re in the gym and even as they leave. So, to be put on blast for taking a stand (or kneel) to help keep the conversation going and to continue to spark change… I will do my part from here on out! Catch the Stars will continue to rock our community and I will continue to figure out how I can impact lives, one child, one teenager, one lost soul at a time. Now, your choice is your own, but instead of writing letters and getting angry about silent, non-violent protests, how about we join together, have the conversations and get our hands dirty by CHANGING the world. That’s what I want to do…

A photo posted by Catch Me If U Can 24 (@catchin24) on


Her response, read, in part: 
Now, your choice is your own, but instead of writing letters and getting angry about silent, non-violent protests, how about we join together, have the conversations and get our hands dirty by CHANGING the world.
The Pacers Sports and Entertainment group responded yesterday with a statement that implied "we'd really rather you stand up." But the statement also acknowledges the players' right to protest and highlighted the organization's wish for continuing conversations. 
STATEMENT FROM PACERS SPORTS & ENTERTAINMENT REGARDING THE INDIANA FEVER

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 & 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. 
Meanwhile, (former) fans are still talking about boycotts on Twitter. Soon, there will be no professional sports for Danny to watch, because protests are likely to start and continue through the NFL and NBA seasons.
Maybe baseball. 

Reminder: Spurred by the actions of Colin Kaepernick, professional sports players are taking a knee — or locking arms — to protest police brutality, specifically against people of color. According to the Washington Post, 707 people in the United States have been killed by police in 2016.

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