INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Fever player Marissa Coleman explained why she and her teammates decided to kneel during the National Anthem prior to tipoff against the Phoenix Mercury Wednesday night.
She wrote via her Twitter page:
I have close family friends that have served this country. My brother in law fought for this country. My boyfriend was in the navy. My dad is a retired police officer. I would never disrespect them or devalue their service. My question is, why is it when you stand for something it is automatically assumed you're against the opposite?? It makes no sense to me. 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.
The bigger disrespect to this country and those who fight for it is staying silent on these issues that plague African-Americans and people of color. It's easy to sit behind a phone or keyboard and tell me I'm a bad American, or if I hate it so much I should leave. That's easy. That only takes 140 characters or less. Standing up for change (or in this case kneeling), that takes courage. Instead of jumping to conclusions and believing us taking a knee is a direct disrespect to our troops and those who have fought for our freedom, why not ASK myself or my teammates what our end goals and purposes are. ITS THAT SIMPLE. A woman came up to my teammates and I while we were at dinner last night and politely asked us, "I just want to know if your taking a knee means you don't support our troops? What was the purpose." She wasn't angry nor were we. You know what happened? A healthy and informative dialogue between us all. We explained ourselves, she listened, really listened and walked away saying "thank you for explaining everything, I get it now." Goal accomplished: conversation started
If speaking up/taking a knee and bringing awareness to issues that directly effect my family and I, makes me a bad American....so be it. My brothers, my nephew, my dad, could have easily been that "big, black man that looks like trouble", in Tulsa.
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.
I have a platform, and it would be a disservice not using it.
The entire Indiana Fever team took a knee during the National Anthem at Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
A handful of members from the Mercury also knelt.
The protest movement was started by Kaepernick, and has been followed by other athletes including a few members of the Eagles during Monday night's football game.
— Dave Furst (@DaveFurst) September 21, 2016
"I'm proud of y'all for doing that together, for being in that together."
Indiana kneeled during the anthem. WATCH: https://t.co/cpKquLwQXQ
— espnW (@espnW) September 21, 2016