INDIANAPOLIS- After a news-making silent protest here in Indiana, and a violent protest in Charlotte, the conversation about police and race relations has intensified to new levels.
The entire roster of the Indiana Fever took a knee during the national anthem Wednesday night at Bankers Life Fieldhouse as the WNBA team prepared to take on the Phoenix Mercury.
The players locked arms and lowered their heads as the anthem played.
Pacers Sports and Entertainment issued the following statement Thursday afternoon:
“During the Indiana Fever versus Phoenix Mercury playoff game last night, the Fever players conducted a silent protest by kneeling during the singing of the national anthem. While Pacers Sports and Entertainment believes that our players should follow WNBA protocol, which is to stand respectfully during the anthem, we also understand that they have the right to have their voices heard. We are very proud of our role in serving the community in Indianapolis and it is our hope going forward that we can collaborate with the players in a positive way, create opportunities for meaningful discussions, and contribute to a stronger, safer and more unified community.”
People on social media reacted with mixed emotions. Many were outraged, while others showed support. One fan at the game emailed CBS4 to say the protest caused him to walk out.
In the video above, the IN Focus panel talks about the Fever's protest, and discusses Gov. Mike Pence's reaction to the news.
On the campaign trail last week, Pence said:
"Donald Trump and I believe there's been far too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism within law enforcement. That police officers are human beings. In difficult and life threatening situations, mistakes are made and people have to be held to strict account."