The US Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) says teams will wear uniforms bearing the names of black female victims of police brutality and racial violence during the league’s opening weekend.
The WNBA, which plans to begin its 2020 season in late July amid the coronavirus outbreak, added that players would wear warm-up shirts displaying the ‘Black Lives Matter’ logo on the front and ‘Say Her Name’ on the back throughout the campaign.
The announcement comes in the wake of weeks of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed black man who died under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert said: “We are incredibly proud of WNBA players who continue to lead with their inspiring voices and effective actions in the league’s dedicated fight against systemic racism and violence.
“Systemic change can’t happen overnight, but it is our shared responsibility to do everything we can to raise awareness and promote the justice we hope to see in society.”
In addition, the WNBA and the Women’s National Basketball Players Association (WNBPA) will work together to launch ‘The Justice Movement’ and the ‘Social Justice Council’.
The organisations say the aim of the new bodies is to be “a driving force of necessary and continuing conversations about race, voting rights, LGBTQ+ advocacy, and gun control amongst other important societal issues”.
They go on to say: “In its inaugural season, the Social Justice Council will address this country’s long history of inequality, implicit bias and systemic racism that has targeted black and brown communities.”
The Social Justice Council will be led by players, including Layshia Clarendon, Sydney Colson, Breanna Stewart, Tierra Ruffin-Pratt, A’ja Wilson and Satou Sabally.