The latest round of athlete protests during the playing of the national anthem came Wednesday against the backdrop of recent fatal shootings of black men by the police in Tulsa, Okla., and Charlotte, N.C.
Before a win-or-go-home W.N.B.A. playoff game against the Phoenix Mercury in Indianapolis on Wednesday, every Indiana Fever player knelt and linked arms as the national anthem played.
They were joined by two Mercury players, Mistie Bass and Kelsey Bone. The other members of the Mercury remained standing.
Even given the high stakes of the game, Fever Coach Stephanie White told her players that she had been proud to see what she characterized as an important gesture.
“I’m proud of y’all for doing that together, being in that together,” she said, according to ESPN. “That’s big. That’s big. It’s bigger than basketball, right? Bigger than basketball.”
The Fever fell, 89-78, getting 13 points from Tamika Catchings in what proved her final game. The Mercury advanced to a game against the Liberty on Saturday.
In July, players on the Fever and the Mercury, as well as the Liberty, were fined by the W.N.B.A. after wearing black T-shirts intended to draw attention to police shootings in Louisiana and Minnesota.