Griner is again not expected to be on the court for the playing of the national anthem on Wednesday night, when the Mercury face the Indiana Fever at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla.
No players from the Mercury (0-1) or Los Angeles Sparks were on the court while the national anthem was played prior to their game Saturday. It was not a matter of disrespect, but as a show of protest in seeking justice for Breonna Taylor and other victims of police brutality. Taylor, a black woman killed by Louisville police earlier this year, along with the Black Lives Matter movement, are part of the WNBA's relatively collective stand in bringing social justice to the forefront this season.
Griner has been quite spoken on the topic, especially when it comes to her stance on using her actions during the anthem as a form of protest.
"I honestly feel we should not play the national anthem during our season," Griner told the Arizona Republic. "I think we should take that much of a stand.
"I'm not going to be out there for the national anthem. If the league continues to want to play it, that's fine."
Griner, who is wearing Taylor's name on her uniform this season, will try to balance those social awareness beliefs with her basketball skills. An MVP candidate, Griner hopes for a better outing after totaling eight points with nine rebounds and five turnovers during the Mercury's 99-76 loss to the Sparks.
The good news for Phoenix is that it's won six in a row versus Indiana (0-1), which fared even worse during its 101-76 season-opening loss to reigning league champion Washington. Kelsey Mitchell hit five 3-pointers to finish with 25 points and Tiffany Mitchell scored 15 for the Fever, but they trailed 62-35 at halftime and allowed the Mystics to shoot almost 56 percent from the field overall.
"This is a game where we were not happy with our performance," first-year coach Marianne Stanley said as posted on the Fever's official Facebook page. "I'm not going to offer excuses for anything. We need to be better and we will be better."
Despite Indiana's rough opener, Kelsey Mitchell could be in store for another big season after averaging a team-high 13.6 points last season.
Griner averaged 23.7 points in three games against Indiana last season.