The WNBA and its players are voicing their concerns loud and proud in the fight against racial inequality. Since the murder of George Floyd, the WNBA and several players have been on the front lines standing in the gap for so many in an attempt to bring much needed change.
Several players have exemplified the meaning of sacrifice by choosing to sit out the 2020 season to continue their work for the change they so desire to see. The most noticeable stance came from WNBA Champion Mya Moore of the Minnesota Lynx. Moore opted to sit out both the 2019 and 2020 season dedicating her time and efforts to help Jonathan Irons secure his release from prison after being wrongly convicted 23 years ago. This past week Moore experienced her efforts paying off as Irons was released from prison, and Moore was there to rejoice in the victory as she fail to her knees in praise.
Other players such as Natasha Cloud, LaToya Sanders and Renee Montgomery have also decided to skip the 2020 season. Cloud coming off a Championship season with the Mystics said her decision is because she is more than athlete. Therefore she has a responsibility to herself, her community and her future children to fight for something that is much bigger than herself and the game of basketball. Cloud says, “until Black lives matter, all lives can’t matter.”
Las Vegas Aces, forward Angel McCoughtry, has decided to play this season but with a great purpose. McCoughtry started her #SayTheirNames initiative advocating in support of the WNBA allowing players to wear the names of victims killed by police brutality on their jerseys during the 2020 season. If approved she says she will be wear a jersey to represent Breonna Taylor because she feels connected to the family.
McCoughtry said this initiative would be bigger then just putting a name on a jersey. It would be her desire that the players would build relationships with the families of the victims the players choose to represent, and listen to any ideas they have to bring about social change. McCoughtry’s initiative gained a lot of positive support including support from the NBA and their players.
On Monday, McCoughtry was able to celebrate knowing that the WNBA announced that the League would be dedicating the 2020 season to social justice. The WNBA and its union agreed to feature the names of women who have died in connection to police action or alleged racial violence, such as Sandra Bland, Breonna Taylor and Vanessa Guillen on jerseys when the league resume play this month.
WNBA players will also wear warm-up shirts that say “Black Lives Matter” on the front and “Say Her Name” on the back. “Black Lives Matters” will also be featured prominently on the courts at the IMG Academy in Florida.
The WNBA also announced they will begin “The Justice Movement”, which will be a Social Justice Council that will be led by players to address the country’s long history of inequality and systemic racism that has targeted Black and Brown communities.
The WNBA feel enough is enough, and the time can’t be more right then now to use their most influential platform to have more then 140 players come together and have their voices heard and not muted. Nothing can be changed until it is faced, and the WNBA seems to be facing the issue of social injustice head on with great strides so far.