New York Liberty players partake in global protests against injustice

NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 27: Kia Nurse #5, and Amanda Zahui B. #17 of the New York Liberty hi-five each other against the Phoenix Mercury on August 27, 2019 at the Westchester County Center in White Plains, New York. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2019 NBAE (Photo by Catalina Fragoso/NBAE via Getty Images)

Members of the New York Liberty aren’t sticking to sports in these times, marching with protestors in their quest to end systematic racism.

On-court representatives of the New York Liberty are joining the fight against injustice, systematic racism, and police brutality.

Protests sparked by police brutality against African-American citizens have risen in all 50 states and the cause has now gone international. At the forefront of protests in her native Sweden is Liberty center Amanda Zahui B. The veteran has been vocal in social causes long before the modern protests began, speaking on environmental, immigration, and mental health issues through the 2019 season (previously documented by Jackie Powell of High Post Hoops). With calls for societal change at a fever pitch, Zahui B has amplified her own voice on social media, sharing her active participation in a demonstration in her native Stockholm.

In her photos, which were also shared by the Liberty’s social accounts, Zahui B brandishes a sign that reads “Cops have blood on their hands”. Earlier this week, she posted a 13-minute video on Instagram calling for reform and justice.

“I am almost at a loss of words and yet I have so many things to say,” she said in her emotional video. “I want to do something and I am trying my best to educate myself and others on the privilege white people have and the privilege there is in this world to kill an innocent black human being.”

Zahui B mentioned on Twitter that the issue of police brutality was not limited to America, criticizing the actions of the Swedish National Police Board during the demonstrations in Stockholm.

Zahui B is not the only New Yorker using her voice to call for change. All-Star guard Kia Nurse told Complex Canada that she was planning to use her platform as a New York professional athlete to achieve change.

“With what’s going on in the world right now, obviously change needs to happen and it’s a conversation that needs to be had,” Nurse to Alex Narvaez. “I think social media is a great way to start that conversation…but it’s been heartbreaking and devastating to see what’s been going on.”

With the WNBA season on hold due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Nurse had become the face of Liberty social media, hosting a virtual talk show entitled Kickin’ It With Kia, in which the Hamilton, Canada native interviewed her teammates new and old. In the wake of current events, Nurse has put the show on hold to be a bigger figure in the quest for change.

“Deeply affected by the murders of Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, and George Floyd, I join the rest of the world in grieving and demanding justice,” Nurse said in a statement on Liberty social media. “I am becoming educated on ways that I can be part of the change, and enjoying family this week.”

Numerous players, as well as head coach Walt Hopkins Jr., have been active on social media sharing their thoughts. One of the Liberty’s newest members, top overall pick Sabrina Ionescu, was among them.

“How can you put into words how heart breaking [sic] it is that people are being murdered based on the color of their skin? You can’t,” Ionescu said in a message posted earlier this week. “No words will heal this pain, but all I can say to my black brother and sisters is- I see you, I hear you, I love you, and I will stand with you. I will stand with you today, and everyday [sic] because BLACK LIVES MATTER.”

In conjunction with their Nets-branded sibling squads in the NBA and the G League, the Liberty also released a statement days after their home of Barclays Center was used as a hub for police brutality and injustice-related demonstrations in Brooklyn. Chief operating officer Keia Clarke and general manager Jonathan Kolb were among the signees.

Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags

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