Ahead of Friday’s NCAA Final Four tournament game, the South Carolina Gamecocks refused to take the court and remained in the locker room during the playing of the national anthem.
As the strains of the Star-Spangled Banner filled the stadium, only the Gamecocks’ opponents, the Louisville Cardinals, stood on the sidelines, Insider reported.
The top-ranked South Carolina women’s basketball team has been protesting against the country since January of last year and typically stays in the locker room during the anthem.
Gamecocks coach Dawn Staley recently exclaimed that the team protests during the anthem “to bring awareness to racial injustice in our country,” she told the website Andscape back in January.
South Carolina coach Dawn Staley waving the American flag as a member of the U.S. National team during the 2000 Olympics. (Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images)
Staley added that when the anthem plays at home games, “opposing teams choose to play the anthem during the time we’re in the locker room, then we choose to stay in the locker room.”
South Carolina has also protested during each of its appearances in the NCAA tournament, but until Friday, its previous opponents supported the Gamecocks by remaining in their locker rooms during the anthem.
Still, even though they did take the court ahead of the anthem, the Louisville Cardinals linked arms, which has been another form of protest indulged by many teams in the past.
The Gamecocks easily outpaced the Cardinals, winning 72-59, and will face the UConn Huskies on Sunday.
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