- WNBA players protesting during Finals
- Social activism high among players
- Protests predate NFL movement
For the first four games of their WNBA Finals series against the Minnesota Lynx, the entire Los Angeles Sparks team has remained in the locker room -- even staging a collective walkout before Game 1 to a clatter of boos.
On Wednesday, defending champion Sparks opted to stay on the court before their decisive Game 5 85-76 defeat by the Lynx team as Minnesota won its fourth title.
"Their efforts are sometimes overshadowed by the men, but I think it's important that we recognize and credit them," Kristen Clarke, the president of the National Lawyers Committee for Civil Rights, told CNN Sport.
Clarke notes that the personal experiences of black women in the WNBA (comprising nearly 69% of the league, according to The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport
) lend themselves to being politically vocal.
"The WNBA has a fair number of African-American women who understand what it means to be discriminated on the basis of their race and gender, so they lie on the intersection of a lot of the problems that have beleaguered our country," she says.
"They have something to say about many of the crises that are unfolding across our country, and some of what they have to say is informed by their own personal experiences with injustice."