4 Officers Walk Out Of WNBA Game Over Players’ Offensive Shirts

During a WNBA Lynx game in Minneapolis, four off-duty police officers, who were working security for the game, abandoned their posts after they saw the players wearing black t-shirts with the names of two black men who had been shot by police, including Philando Castile, a man killed by police during a traffic stop in Minnesota. The back of the shirt also had a Dallas police badge in honor of five Dallas police officers killed on the job, and the words “Black Lives Matter.” The players explained that the shirts were made to honor and mourn the dead and advocate for change during the pre-game conference.

The police officers were offended by the shirts and asked the team officials to get the players to take them off, but the team refused to comply. The police federation president, Lt. Bob Kroll, called the protest “anti-police” and claimed that the Lynx players were buying into a “false narrative” alleging police misconduct. He further stated that the players should stick with playing ball and that people went to the game to watch basketball.

Minneapolis Police Chief, Janee’ Harteau, understood the officers’ frustrations but did not condone their actions, stating that when wearing a Minneapolis Police uniform, all officers should adhere to the core values and honor their oath of office. Walking off the job and defaulting on their contractual obligation to provide a service to the Lynx does not conform to the public’s expectations for the uniform these officers wear. Minneapolis Mayor, Betsy Hodges, posted on Facebook, stating that Kroll’s remarks about the Lynx were jackass remarks and that he did not speak for her about the Lynx or anything else.

The Lynx players continued to wear the shirts during warm-ups at their next game, and other WNBA teams joined in solidarity by wearing similar shirts. The incident brought attention to police-community relations, racial profiling, and senseless violence. The Lynx players used their platform to bring awareness to these issues, sparking conversations and encouraging others to take a stand and raise their voices.

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