The South Carolina Gamecocks stayed in the locker room during the national anthem at the Final Four.
Dawn Staley's team did not come out for the anthem during home games or this year's NCAA tournament.
Louisville — South Carolina's Final Four opponent — was on the court and stood for the anthem.
The South Carolina Gamecocks remained in the locker room as the national anthem played ahead of the Final Four.
The Louisville Cardinals — South Carolina's national semifinal opponents — stood on the court as a team.
Dawn Staley's top-ranked squad has protested during the national anthem in some form since at least January 2021 "to bring awareness to racial injustice in our country," as Staley herself told Andscape's Sean Hurd.
Though the anthem is played at the Gamecocks' home games, the team does not emerge from the locker room as it plays. But if, during away games, "opposing teams choose to play the anthem during the time we're in the locker room, then we choose to stay in the locker room," Staley further explained.
South Carolina has stayed true to that philosophy throughout this year's NCAA tournament, according to beat reporters who have covered the Gamecocks' full run. But, until now, all of their NCAA opponents had stayed off the floor for the anthem as well.
The Cardinals players and coaches stood side-by-side with their arms interlocked. Some team members held their hands to their hearts and sang along.
The winner of Friday evening's first national semifinal will move on to face either the Stanford Cardinal or UConn Huskies in Sunday's title game. At the half, South Carolina leads Louisville 34-28.
Correction: This story was updated to reflect the fact that South Carolina does play the National Anthem at its home games. It also failed to note that in their Elite Eight game, neither the Gamecocks nor their opponents, Creighton, were on the court for the National Anthem. After the story was published, the Gamecocks clarified that their absence during the Anthem in the semifinal game was a matter of logistical happenstance, based on the team's pregame ritual, and not a protest.
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