When Minnesota Lynx stepped up, Mpls. cops walked away

Updated 2:05 p.m

When the Minnesota Lynx put on warm-up T-shirts memorializing two black men killed by police, the Dallas police officers hurt and killed in an ambush, and calling for us to look to ourselves for change, it was too much for Minneapolis police officers to take.

The Star Tribune reports the four officers, working an off-hours gig, walked off the job at Saturday’s game.

“If [the players] are going to keep their stance, all officers may refuse to work there,” police union boss Lt. Bob Kroll told reporter Randy Furst.

“We do not, in any way, condone violence against the men and women who serve on our police force,” superstar Maya Moore said in a statement. “Senseless violence and retaliation will not bring us peace”

Question: When police walk out over such a sentiment, what is their message?

It wasn’t just the Lynx showing a social conscience this weekend. So did the New York Liberty, who play the Lynx at Target Center on Friday.

“Five cops gave their lives up trying to protect a peaceful movement,” New York Liberty player Swin Cash told the New York Times. “And in this country, I do believe that you can assemble peacefully and protest against injustice. So until the system transforms, we cannot sit here and act like there is not a problem here in America.”

Question: When police walk out over such a sentiment, what is their message?

The WNBA issued a statement saying “all of us are deeply troubled and concerned by the needless violence and loss of life, and we recognize that positive change starts with all of us standing up for the values we cherish — diversity, inclusiveness, and respect for others. We will keep these families in our thoughts as we continue to work to build stronger, safer, communities.”

Question: When police walk out over such a sentiment, what is their message?

It took courage for the players to make their statement, Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said.

What’s it take to walk out?

“They only have four officers working the event because the Lynx have such a pathetic draw,” Kroll told the Strib, moving the petty-o-meter and insulting thousands of fans who support the Lynx and allow the off-duty officers to make a good chunk of change without heavy lifting.

“Rushing to judgment before the facts are in is unwarranted and reckless,” he said.

“Racial profiling is a problem. Senseless violence is a problem. The divide is way too big between our communities and those who have vowed to protect and serve us,” Lynx player Rebekkah Brunson said.

In disengaging over a call to come together, four Minneapolis cops and a union boss did their part to be sure it stays that way.

Related commentary: When it comes to policing, don’t we all want the same thing? (Star Tribune)

[Update 12:15 p.m.]-

Update 2:02 p.m. — Mayor Betsy Hodges checks in.