Sue Bird, WNBA to relax anthem protest for Olympics

WNBA players will remain on the court during the national anthem at the Tokyo Olympics — an about-face defended by Team USA Captain Sue Bird despite the league’s well-documented protests this season.

“You are wearing USA jerseys, and it does change the conversation a little bit and what you’re representing,” Bird told the Associated Press on Saturday.

“With that, I don’t feel like a hypocrite in any way.” Everyone knows where we stand. I don’t think it contradicts anything since we’re actually doing the work.”

Throughout the WBNA season, the four-time Olympic gold medalist and her teammates have remained in the locker room during “The Star-Spangled Banner.”

Bird, a New York native who plays for the WNBA’s Seattle Storm, served as a US flag bearer at the opening ceremony.

USA's basketball player Sue Bird
Throughout the WBNA season, Sue Bird and her teammates have remained in the locker room during the national anthem.
AFP via Getty Images
WNBA team kneeling during the national anthem
Teams kneeling and staying in the locker room during the national anthem has been a big point of contention in the US.
NBAE via Getty Images

She and her teammates locked arms before three exhibition games in Las Vegas last week — and said the more relaxed form of protest would likely continue in Tokyo.

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“We all want our country to be a better place, and that’s what this is about,” she said. “That’s an athlete’s mentality, and there’s really no better people to do that than athletes.

“What do we do every single day? What do we talk about. Getting better.”

With Post wires

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