WNBA players react to Breonna Taylor settlement

WNBA players repeated their calls for the officers who killed Breonna Taylor to be arrested after hearing news of the historic settlement between the family and the city of Louisville, Kentucky.

The league, which began its playoffs on Tuesday, dedicated the 2020 season to Taylor and the Say Her Name movement, which raises awareness for Black female victims of police violence.

All season, in Bradenton, Florida, WNBA players have worn warmup shirts with the words “Black Lives Matter” displayed on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back, along with Taylor’s name on their jerseys.

Earlier on Tuesday, it was announced that the city of Louisville had agreed to pay $12 million to the family of Taylor and institute sweeping police reforms in a settlement of the family’s wrongful death lawsuit.

“That’s it?” Angel McCoughtry of the Las Vegas Aces, who spearheaded the WNBA’s campaign, said to reporters when she was told of the news.

She later went on to say, “You know, yeah, they deserve millions, but first of all, that’s not a lot of millions. And then second of all, why aren’t they (the officers) arrested? What else do we need to do? What else do people need to see?”

When Brittney Sykes, who plays for the No. 3 seed Los Angeles Sparks, was asked what she thought about the news on the settlement, she immediately asked, “They charge the cops?”

When she was told no, she then said, “Then that’s my reaction.”

“I mean, yeah, money is cool, but did they charge the cops?” Sykes said. “And they didn’t, so our job isn’t done.”

Sparks’ Candace Parker said the settlement is “a step.”

“But this isn’t what our goal was,” she said. “And obviously, we wear Breonna Taylor’s name on the back of our jersey, but she represents so many other women that have been killed because of police brutality. I think as a mother, there’s no amount of money that could take that away. So I don’t think that does anything.”

Breanna Stewart of the Seattle Storm had similar thoughts.

“My initial reactions are obviously, it’s a step in the right direction,” Stewart said. “I think that a settlement is not justice. Money is not getting justice for Breonna Taylor or her family, and those officers still need to be arrested. I think that the spotlight has kind of been on Louisville and (Kentucky) Attorney General Daniel Cameron, and I hope that he continues to do what needs to be done and arrest her killers.”

There are eight teams in this year’s WNBA playoffs. There are single-elimination games for the first and second rounds and a best-of-five format for the semifinals and finals. The Aces, who earned the No. 1 seed, and the No. 2 seed Storm each have received byes and won’t take the court until the semifinals.


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