The Minnesota Lynx, who are the defending WNBA champions, had four off-duty police officers walk off their contract jobs after players made comments advocating against racial profiling, and wore the above Black Lives Matter shirts in warmups on Saturday. The Star Tribune details:
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, the union that represents rank-and-file officers, praised them for quitting. “I commend them for it,” he said.Kroll said the four officers also removed themselves from a list of officers working future games. He did not know who the officers were. “Others said they heard about it and they were not going to work Lynx games,” he said. Asked if other officers will fill in for those who quit, Kroll said, “If (the players) are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there.”
In Minnesota and across the country, there have been protests over deaths of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling after being shot by police officers in Falcon Heights and Baton Rouge, respectively. Their names were memorialized on the shirts worn by Lynx players.
Though, as the Star Tribune notes, the players also denounced the “senseless ambush” of the police officers who were shot by a sniper in Dallas last week, the Minnesota police federation president apparently did not feel they were giving law enforcement a fair shake:
Kroll criticized Lynx players for their position, citing the “false narratives” in the past two years in which some allegations of police misconduct in the killing of black people was later refuted. “Rushing to judgment before the facts are in is unwarranted and reckless,” he said.
Police sign up for off-duty jobs to work Lynx games, Kroll said. “They can start or stop a job whenever they want,” he said. “They are working on an independent contract.” Asked about a report that seven or eight officers had walked off the job, Kroll said “They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw.”
The shot at the end about the Lynx’s attendance – again, the team won the WNBA title last season – comes across as especially petty.
It will be interesting to see to what extent this story gains national exposure.