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Notre Dame women's basketball team wears 'I can't breathe' shirts

The Notre Dame women's basketball team wore shirts that read "I Can't Breathe" when it took the floor for pre-game warmups on Saturday. 
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The Notre Dame women's basketball team wore shirts that read "I Can't Breathe" when it took the floor for pre-game warmups on Saturday. 

The shirts, which have been worn by basketball players like LeBron James and teams like the Los Angeles Lakers, protest the death of New York man Eric Garner, who was killed by police earlier this year after an officer placed him in a chokehold. Garner, who was allegedly selling illegal cigarettes, was unarmed, but a Staten Island, N.Y. grand jury announced earlier this month that it wouldn't indict the officer. 

The No. 5 Fighting Irish wore the shirts during warmups prior to their Saturday game against Michigan, which Notre Dame won 70-50. 

A Notre Dame spokesman told the Associated Press that the team wore the shirts after getting permission from the university and head coach Muffet McGraw, who said after the game that she was proud of her team. 

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"I was really proud of our team, especially Taya [Reimer], to publicly stand for something you believe in," she said, according to ESPN. "I think one of the things I try to teach them is you've got to fight. You've got to fight for playing time. You've got to fight to win a national championship. You have to be willing to stand up and fight and you have to be accountable."

Notre Dame reportedly became the first women's basketball team to wear "I Can't Breathe" shirts. Various NFL players have also worn the shirt prior to games, while a number of athletes have used the "hands up" gesture as a former of protest during games. 

Later on Saturday, the Cal women's basketball team donned shirts bearing the names of individuals who were victims of race-based kilings, like Emmett Till and Michael Donald. The team also collectively made the "hands up" gesture prior to the game. 

On Saturday, as the Irish and Bears played their games, thousands of people marched in cities like New York and Washington, D.C. to protest the killing of unarmed black men by police. 

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- Stanley Kay