Sept. 21 was the final game for coach Stephanie White and Tamika Catchings. Ironically, there was little press coverage of the team losing that game and being eliminated from the playoffs.
Most of the professional and social media coverage and discussions centered around the fact that the entire Indiana team knelt on one knee during the national anthem. I was surprised to see them kneeling, but I decided to take Lyn’s advice and not make any quick or not-well-thought-out comments at the time.
I tried to put all of those thoughts aside and watch the game. I did fairly well with that and only on occasion drifted back when I noticed fans disagreeing with the officials’ calls. I refereed basketball for several years, but that is a story for another time. All I can say now is that visual angles make a big difference sometimes.
I was eager the next morning to watch the local news and read the daily newspaper. When I discovered that White wasn’t aware of her team’s plan to kneel during the “Star-Spangled Banner,” I began to think about the players’ discussions to go forward with the demonstration ... peaceful protest to African-Americans being shot dead by police officers in various cities across the United States. The players are keenly aware of what is happening in the country.
I’m sure some of them have family members who are or were in the military. Probably some have family and friends who are police officers.
Had they as a team contacted local media and told them that they would like to hold a press conference regarding their thoughts, I doubt if that would have received the coverage their honorable kneeling achieved.
As I viewed the television coverage the following morning, the team’s unity was evidenced during the national anthem when the players locked their arms together while honoring the flag or bowing their heads.
I’m certain that all of the players have been questioned by lots of people in the past few days, and it’s my guess that none of these ladies have said they were influenced by the football player who sat with his arms folded during the national anthem.
My thoughts are that they took a basic idea and modified it so that if people watched them and thought about many of the problems we have in our country, that maybe each of us would try to make positive changes and encourage all of our family and friends to do the same.
I know there has been a great deal of discussion about the team kneeling. Having some knowledge of the players’ backgrounds and their willingness to help out with many community programs, I would have joined them had they asked me. I say this because I am certain that they were not disrespecting our country or our flag. They were doing something to get us all to think.
Go Fever! I’m sure looking forward to next season.