| The Associated Press
COLOMBIA – South Carolina guard Zia Cooke said it is important for people not to forget the issues of social injustice and racial inequality that arose earlier this year.
That’s why she and nine of her teammates chose to sit in their side chairs while the national anthem was played before Gamecocks’ 119-38 victory over Charleston on Wednesday.
The team discussed the action months ago, while protests were taking place across the country to protest the police deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor, who were black.
“We just wanted everyone to know that we haven’t forgotten what’s going on,” said Cooke. “Sure, this is a basketball game, but we wanted to use our platform.”
Elysa Wesolek was the only player who resisted. Coach Dawn Staley and her team also stood out while “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played.
The team released a statement on Twitter saying that the players’ actions were aimed at “shedding light on the need for racial equality, social justice and ending systemic racism in the United States.”
Staley was proud that his players took a stand.
“They are the ones who are using their voices and their platform,” she said.
Staley said he heard one or two boos from fans and received messages on social media about supporters who promised not to return.
“As coaches, we were going to support them regardless of what they wanted to do, but I’m happy that they put themselves in a position to use their voice,” said Staley.
The team statement said it would support all players, whether they chose to stand or sit.