(Reuters) – The U.S. Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) has said teams will wear uniforms bearing the names of Black female victims of police brutality and racial violence during the league’s opening weekend.
The WNBA, which plans to begin its 2020 season in late July amid the COVID-19 outbreak, added that players would wear warm-up shirts displaying the ‘Black Lives Matter’ logo on the front and ‘Say Her Name’ on the back throughout the campaign.
The announcement comes in the wake of weeks of protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, an unarmed Black man who died under the knee of a white police officer in Minneapolis.
“We are incredibly proud of WNBA players who continue to lead with their inspiring voices and effective actions in the league’s dedicated fight against systemic racism and violence,” WNBA Commissioner Cathy Engelbert said in a statement.
“Systemic change can’t happen overnight, but it is our shared responsibility to do everything we can to raise awareness and promote the justice we hope to see in society.”
The WNBA was classed as a leader among professional leagues in terms of racial and gender hiring practices in a report by the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport (TIDES) in 2019.
(Reporting by Simon Jennings in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)