The Minnesota Lynx wore black shirts sporting the slogan “Change Starts with Us” in 2016 after former St. Anthony police officer Jeronimo Yanez shot and killed Philando Castile during a traffic stop.
“As the Minnesota Lynx celebrate their historic 25th season, the Rebel uniform represents a founding pillar of this franchise — using sport as a vehicle of change,” said Lynx President of Business Operations Carley Knox. “‘Change Starts with Us’ is a call to action to create a more just and equitable society, where we all feel safe, respected and heard. [It] represents the values that we’ve always had of activism [in] our franchise.”
The new Rebel uniforms are all black, different from the team’s original jerseys. The black is reminiscent of the “Change Starts with Us” warmup shirts the team wore in July 2016 in response to the shootings of Castile in Minnesota and Alton Sterling in Louisiana.
Waking up and hearing the devastating news, the team wanted to do something about it.
“‘OK, what are we going to do?’ and ‘How do we want to use our platform?’” the team asked, according to Knox. “And that’s what the team came up with,” she said.
At that time, this type of activism was new to pro sports, so the team decided to make a change and make sure a meaningful message was getting put out there.
“Nobody was using their platform,” Knox said. “I believe that we did was such an incredibly inspiring moment that made me proud to be part of our franchise.”
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The Rebel uniforms honor a time when the Lynx showed the public exactly what they stand for. It’s in their history of activism and social justice work, and it’s been at the core of their values since. The name “Rebel” means unapologetic.
Since 2016, the Lynx have gotten even more involved, joining committees, activist groups and protests. When injustice happens, team members make a commitment to be involved.
“You’ll see us involved in many different things,” Knox said.
Recently, Knox and Lynx head coach Cheryl Reeve were at the state Capitol for an assignment to make Minnesota a safe space for trans youth and trans families.
If it’s something they are passionate about, their core value is to speak out.
“And that’s what the jerseys really represent,” Knox said.
This story was produced in partnership with the Minnesota Lynx and Star Tribune Junior Reporter program, which brought five ThreeSixty Journalism students attending the Sports Reporting Workshop students courtside on gameday.