The women’s basketball team at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, plans to protest the national anthem for the rest of this year’s season by sitting in the locker room.
“We are not just student-athletes, and this is more than playing a game,” the team said in a statement posted to Twitter.
The statement continued:
Every time we put on a black and gold jersey, we feel the responsibility as ambassadors of our University, role models to young girls, and members of your community.
We want to set the example, and we have made a commitment to be the change we want to see in the world. We have encouraged each other to volunteer, vote and donate. We support each other in the pursuit of social justice and equity for all.
We are grateful for each other, our University and this country, and for the opportunities they provide us in our efforts to pursue change.
For the national anthem this year, we have chosen to stay in our locker room as a team to mourn and commemorate the racial injustices that have been taking place in the United States.
Thank you for your continued support. From our family to yours, we wish you health, safety and happiness.
— Kaylon Smith💫 (@KayySmith__) December 8, 2020
Vanderbilt spokesman Eric Dolan confirmed that staying in the locker room during the anthem was “a team decision,” and that Coach Stephanie White would join them in their protest, according to The Tennessean.
“In the past, nearly half of the team has knelt on the sidelines during the national anthem to protest racial inequalities and police brutality,” reports The Hill.
The actions of the Vanderbilt women’s basketball team are reminiscent of the U.S. women’s soccer team, which recently made headlines for kneeling during the national anthem on foreign soil.
As The Daily Wire reported:
Members of the U.S. women’s soccer team wore Black Lives Matter jerseys and kneeled for the national anthem in the Netherlands on Friday.
During pregame warmups, the team came out of the locker room wearing shirts emblazoned with “Black Lives Matter,” and nearly every team member kneeled as the national anthem played, according to ESPN.
“We love our country, and it is a true honor to represent America. It is also our duty to demand that the liberties and freedoms that our country was founded on extend to everyone,” read a statement that members of the team posted on social media before the game, which ended in a 2-0 defeat against the Netherlands.
“Today, we wear Black Lives Matter to affirm human decency. We protest against racial injustice and police brutality against Black people. We protest against the racist infrastructures that do not provide equal opportunity for Black and brown people to fulfill their dreams, including playing on this team,” the statement continued.
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