A special look at sports this week: Athletes and social issues take center stage.
A look at the WNBA's Lynx game in which players wore t-shirts that took a stance on social issues and caused four off-duty Minneapolis police officers to leave the game. For more, regular Take Two contributor Andy Kamenetzky joined A Martinez to discuss.
Let's start in Minnesota. Saturday night members of the WNBA's Minnesota Lynx wore t-shirts that on the front read "Change starts with us" and on the back had the names of Alton Sterling, Philando Castile, the Dallas PD shield and at the bottom Black Lives Matter.
Four off-duty Minneapolis police officers working security for the game decided to leave in response. Both sides are making a statement but it feels like a line was drawn in the sand.
"Well, there was a line drawn in the sand, to a point because Lynx players ended up not wearing those same shirts during warm-ups in a game Tuesday against the Silver Stars in San Antonio and maybe that was the result of them feeling like their point was best made during a game in Minneapolis, where Philando Castile had been killed. Maybe it was out of respect to playing in Texas, it being so close to where those Dallas officers lost their lives. Or maybe they just didn't want any animosity between them and Minneapolis PD to be potentially spun in a way that could overshadow the message that they're trying to put out there. Lynx spokesperson Ashley Carson said that they would not be wearing the Black Lives Matter clothing in San Antonio, they said:
'The Lynx organization was made aware about the concerns of the off-duty police officers. While our player's message mourn the loss of lives due to last week's shooting, 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 those tragedies'
And what I also thought was interesting about the line drawn in the sand that you mention, is the reaction within the Minneapolis policing community towards those off-duty police walking out on what was essentially security duty. You had Minneapolis police federation, Bob Kroll, telling the star tribune that he commended the officers and he took their names off a list to work future games but then, Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges called those comments 'jackass remarks'. She said 'Let me be clear labor, leadership, inherently does not speak on behalf of management, Bob Kroll sure as hell does not speak for me, about the Lynx or anything else' and then the Minneapolis Police chief Janee Harteau said that 'ultimately, these police, it's their duty to be out there serving and they have a contractual obligation to provide a service to Lynx games and they need to be held to expectations.' "
Additionally, Andy and A spoke about Cleveland Brown's Isaiah Crowell's Instagram post that was quickly deleted and forced him to issue an apology. Also, a look forward towards the ESPY's and the Olympics. How might sports shape or influence this conversation?
To hear the full segment, click the blue play button above.