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WNBA playoffs tip with statement on Breonna Taylor ruling: 'Justice is on the ballot'

Cassandra Negley
·3-min read

WNBA players came to the 2020 bubble to “Say Her Name” and fight for justice. They opened the season by dedicating it to Breonna Taylor and wore her name on their jerseys for every game.

The semifinals of the playoffs continued on Thursday from Bradenton, Florida, and teams began the night by again saying Taylor’s name and reminding fans that “justice is on the ballot.”

WNBPA calls Breonna Taylor ruling ‘outrageous, disgusting’

The Minnesota Lynx’s Napheesa Collier read the collective statement by the WNBA Players Association ahead of their Game 2 against the Seattle Storm. Jasmine Thomas of the Connecticut Sun read the same statement ahead of Game 3 against the Las Vegas Aces. It was released in part by the WNBPA on Wednesday after a grand jury declined to charge officers in Taylor’s death.

The WNBPA statement:

“Our hearts are with Ms. Tamika Palmer. It has been 195 days since her daughter, Breonna Taylor, was killed. One-hundred and 95 days and still today, no one was charged for her death. We strongly support the sentiment expressed by the family of Breonna Taylor. The result is outrageous and offensive. No one needs to live in the commonwealth of Kentucky to understand this case. We won’t stop pressing for full transparency and full and complete justice. There are far too many questions left unanswered.

“Justice is on the ballot. Please register today and vote on or before Nov. 3.”

The Lynx shared Collier’s reading of the statement with the tweet, “We are so sorry, Breonna Taylor.”

WNBA players keep up fight

Seattle Storm players stand on the court sideline looking up at a photo of Breonna Taylor as an EMT.
Members of the Seattle Storm stand in front of a photo of Breonna Taylor before their playoff game on Thursday. Taylor was killed in her home by police officers. (AP Photo/Chris O'Meara)

The players started the season by saying they would be the voice for the voiceless. They founded a social justice council and dedicated each week while in the bubble to a different Black woman who was killed by police. Their first Zoom meeting was with Palmer and Taylor’s family.

Players spoke out about continuing to fight for justice last week when the Taylor family settled a wrongful death lawsuit with the city for $12 million. In her media availability earlier Thursday, A’ja Wilson said she was focused on the playoffs but also hurting.

“I am a Black woman,” the league MVP said. “You take everything that I’ve earned away from me and I am a Black woman and I fear for my life. I fear for my family. And it’s tough. I can’t even express it enough for how tough it is and how disgusted I am.”

Natasha Cloud, a 2019 champion with the Washington Mystics, said as a guest analyst on ESPN’s halftime show that she was not surprised by the ruling and that voting matters when it comes to these issues.

Taylor, a 26-year-old EMT in Louisville, was shot and killed by Louisville police officers in March while she was sleeping in her apartment. Police were executing a search warrant and three officers fired a total of 32 shots into the apartment, Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron said this week.

The officers were not charged in her death. One officer, Brett Hankison, was charged with wanton endangerment for shooting into a neighboring apartment.

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