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South Carolina women’s basketball coach Don Staley won her second championship Sunday night when the Gamecocks knocked out UConn, 64-49.
Staley and South Carolina experienced some heat after Friday’s Final Four win over Louisville because the team was not on the floor for the national anthem. She said it was just a matter of timing.
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The team was on the ground with the arm and arm closed of “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to Sunday’s tip-off.
“I don’t know who wrote an article about our players not coming out to the stadium for the national anthem. We are just creatures of customs and traditions. I think the national anthem was played at 12 or 10 minute mark, which is not the time we spend on the field because of the pre-match rituals Staley said. “If the national anthem had been at 0:00 as it was today, we would have been standing there for the national anthem.
“So whoever that person, the journalist who wrote that, please do the research, ask questions before you go out and write an article, and then I get called up to all kinds of names, our players are called all kinds of names. Before you do that, please check the facts and don’t put us down Under threat because it was a distraction for us.
“People were in all my calculations and all that. I can stand the heat. But when you write something during one of the most important times of our season, let it be realistic. And let it be.
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“I think we could come up with a lot of different things you could write about our basketball team during this time rather than write something like that full of errors. And then other articles come out of that, and then we’re called unpatriotic, we’re called – Some naive, and that’s because we are a predominantly black team.
“So when you do, understand your strength, and if it’s facts, I can’t fight that. But they were full of lies.”
Staley’s team has stayed in the locker room during the national anthem or otherwise protested since the middle of the 2020-21 college basketball season. She told Andscape at the time that the players sat while the national anthem was played at nearly every game that season to “spread awareness of racial injustice in our country.”
“If opposing teams choose to play the anthem during the time we’re in the locker room, we choose to stay in the locker room,” she said.
Staley added, “I love our country too. I don’t like what our country has become, or what our country has been like, but I would like to think that there are people in our country who will lead us more in a united way than in a divided way, and I’m here for that.”
According to Insider, most of the teams stayed in the locker room as well until Louisville exited.
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Some of the Cardinals were wearing Adidas-branded T-shirts with a message on the back: “No person in the United States shall, on the basis of gender, be excluded from participation, denied benefits, or be discriminated against under any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance. “.