The message displayed on the warm up uniforms of the WNBA team, the Minnesota Lynx, at The Target Center, was so offensive that it caused four off-duty police officers who were working security for the game to walk off the job and sacrifice their pay.
On the front of the warm-up was the text “Change Starts With Us. Justice & Accountability.” That’s not too bad. However, the message that really seemed to be the problem was “Black Lives Matter” written across the rear of the uniforms. The back of the uniforms also featured the names “Alton Sterling” and “Philando Castile”.
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.”
“We are highlighting a longtime problem of racial profiling,” said forward Maya Moore, who happened to be the 2014 league MVP for the WNBA.
According to a local news report:
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised the officers for quitting Saturday. “I commend them for it,” he said.
Kroll said the four officers also removed themselves from a list of officers working future games. He did not know who the officers were. “Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games,” he said.
Asked if other officers will fill in for those who quit, Kroll said, “If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”
After they were made aware of the incident, the team released the following statement on the matter:
“The Lynx organization was made aware about the concerns of the off duty Minneapolis police officers. 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. … We continue to urge a constructive discussion about the issues raised by these tragedies.”
The incident happened last Saturday night, and the controversial shirts have not been seen on the players since the walk-out.
Kroll said the officers were working the job as independent contractors and the it was not associated with the Minneapolis Police Department in any way. He said officers are free to start and stop contracted jobs whenever they choose.
In addition to the off-duty officers hired by the team, the Target Center also provides its own, private security for all events.
Source: Star Tribune