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When political resistance erupted throughout the country after Trump’s election, professional athletes were hardly expected to be catalysts for social change, or even on the front lines of protest. Back in the 1960s individual athletes expressed dissent – U.S. sprinters John Carlos and Tommie Smith gave the All Power to the People salute from the 1968 Olympic podium in Mexico City. Heavyweight champion Muhammad Ali rejected the draft because of his opposition to the Vietnam War. They paid a heavy price.
Two more teams have come together to make a political statement. The Minnesota Lynx and the New York Liberty of the WNBA have chosen to advocate an idea that really should not be radical but somehow is, in the United States of 2016: the idea that Black lives matter. These are public and visible displays of real solidarity: white players joining with their Black teammates, wearing the same shirts and standing alongside them in a show of multiracial unity against anti-Black bigotry.