Forget the NFL ... women's basketball players take powerful stand on social justice

    Minnesota Lynx players stand up for the National Anthem as the Los Angeles Sparks stay in their locker room during Game 3 of the WNBA Finals at Staples Center last week in Los Angeles.

    Story highlights

    • WNBA players protesting during Finals
    • Social activism high among players
    • Protests predate NFL movement

    (CNN)The NFL may be stealing all the headlines when it comes to its National Anthem spat with US President Donald Trump, but women's professional basketball has been consistently taking an even greater stand on its biggest stage.

    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."
      Sylvia Fowles #34 of the Minnesota Lynx and Nneka Ogwumike #30 of the Los Angeles Sparks battle for position in Game 1.