WNBA Returns with a Commitment to Social Justice

Women’s sports? I haven’t heard that name in a long time. Sure, it’s only been a few months since COVID-19 forced sports to shut down, but it feels like ages to sports fans. But now, we see sports lesbians slowly returning to their natural habitats. It wasn’t too long ago that the NWSL announced its return with the Challenge Cup. And we have even more good news. The WNBA announced its return with “a commitment to social justice.”

So What’s the Tea?

On June 15th, the WNBA announced its return to play. All players will receive a full salary during the shortened season. Games are expected to take place at the IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, FL. All 12 teams will report in for training camp in early July, with tip-off planned for later that month. The shortened season will consist of 22 regular season games plus playoffs. All games will be played in empty stadiums, but fans can catch games on ESPN, CBS Sports Network, and NBA TV. Just like with the NWSL, players have the option to not participate and everyone involved will be continually monitored for any symptoms of COVID-19.

What About That Commitment to Social Justice?

In a press release, the WNBPA president Nneka Ogwumike said, “We have always been at the forefront of initiatives with strong support of #BlackLivesMatter, #SayHerName, the LGBT community, gun control, voting rights, mental health, #MeToo… This is not only necessary from a humanitarian perspective, but it may be one of the biggest opportunities this league has and will ever have.” She makes a point. Just check any WNBA player’s Twitter feed. These women are not only using their platform for good, but many of them stood shoulder to shoulder with protesters. Recently, the WNBA released a “Bigger Than Ball” merch line, where donations from its sales will go to the Equal Justice Initiative.

While the NBA and other male sports leagues are still trying to figure out their game plans for the year, the women’s leagues have already figured it out. The WNBA took it one step further by ensuring they aren’t ignoring current events. Many of the league’s players are Black, lesbians, or both. It only makes sense that they would want to stand up to injustice. That the league supports them is tremendous. While the NWSL has changed its mind on the subject, we all remember when they tried to stop Megan Rapinoe from kneeling in solidarity with Colin Kaepernick. Hopefully the other leagues follow in the WNBA’s footsteps. Leave it to women to get things done, am I right ladies?